12. Choosing mitigation measures

Developing mitigation measures

Mitigation measures are typically developed as part of the impact assessment sessions, often as a result of brainstorming. The interactive animation below provides examples of some mitigation measures that could be identified for particular impacts. The example is a scenario of Poxfordshire County Council's transport department who are considering several measures to reduce traffic in Poxford City centre, including the pedestrianisation of the city centre. The impacts of these measures have already been predicted and evaluated.

However not all of the mitigation measures identified this way will be able to be implemented. For political/ implementation purposes, mitigation measures need to be divided into those that:

  • Are directly within the remit of the strategic action being appraised, and that require only changes to the strategic action;
  • Require implementation at lower/project level, but are otherwise within the remit of the competent authority: they need to be converted into requirements/rules for the planning and design of subsequent projects; and
  • Are not within the remit of the competent authority.  In such a case, one needs to identify who the authority responsible for that measure is, discuss/negotiate /convince that authority... or find some other way of getting to the same results that is more clearly within the remit of the competent authority.  Where the mitigation measure is not within the remit of the competent authority, implementation may be difficult or impossible.

Other aspects of effective mitigation measures include:

  • A consistent approach to all development that provides certainty, and an equitable approach so that nobody can claim to be particularly disadvantaged.  For instance, thresholds or limits that trigger mitigation measures can help to simplify negotiations between multiple organisations.  It is much harder to get case-by-case agreements about mitigation measures for multiple individual projects than to have one rule that applies to all projects.
  • Measures that are practical and not self-defeating (e.g. that do not encourage rebellious counter-behaviour such as illegal dumping of rubbish, or drivers using side streets to avoid congestion charges on main roads).
  • An anticipatory, proactive approach that doesn't constrain people's behaviour after they have already made decisions and have entrenched views.  For instance, it is easier to impose zoning-like conditions letting potential developers know that certain types of developments (those with significant negative impacts) are not welcome than to impose mitigation measures retroactively.
  • A robust approach that can withstand changes in the political, technical or environmental context.  Strategic actions can take many years to prepare or revise. By the time the strategic action is adopted, circumstances may have radically altered. For example bus services may have stopped or the construction of a new road could have attracted substantial in-migration. This also means that it can take a very long time for other, complementary strategic actions to be implemented.
  • Adequate funding: Mitigation measures often require public subsidy, or a strong steer for the private sector.
  • The use of follow-up studies liked to mitigation measures (e.g. requirements to keep fixing things until the established goal has been achievbed), to ensure that the measures work as planned. 

Some mitigation measures may impose impacts of their own. For instance, increasing the cost of parking may mean that fewer people come to Poxford to shop, with could affect the vitality and viability of the city centre. Once a first round of mitigation measures has been agreed, the impact of the mitigated strategic action should be re-evaluated.

The final choice of mitigation measures will thus depend on a range of issues, and the 'perfect' mitigation package may well be unattainable.

Presenting mitigation measures

An elegant technique for presenting mitigation measures in an SEA report and helping to ensure that they are implemented, is to prepare an Environmental Management Plan. This lists, for each proposed mitigation measure:

  • what the measure is;
  • who is responsible for implementing it;
  • by when;
  • how one can tell whether it has been put in place and whether it is effective; and
  • what to do if it is not put in place or is not effective.

The table below is a partial example, again pased on the Poxford planning example.  Note how many of the measures are not in the direct remit of Poxford City Council.

Presenting Mitigation Measures
Possible Mitigation Measure(s) How they would be implemented
Provide spaces in pedestrianised areas for outdoor cafes, provide benches, sculptures; Link with other pedestrianised areas; rezone nearby areas for shopping, restaurants etc.
Coordinate with city planners, possibly have a public consultation exercise etc.
Allow cars at certain times of day; Allow deliveries (at certain times of day)
Regional authority to revise road traffic ordinances
Ensure that P+R sites are built on previously developed land; Add wildlife-friendly plantings and try to link with wildlife corridors
Write into the Transport Plan as a constraint for the choice/development of future sites
Ensure that P+R sites are built on previously developed land
Provide incentives for private bus companies, make requirement for bus franchises where possible
Provide fast lanes and priority at stop lights for buses
Change Transport Plan to include this

June 13, 2006 Uncategorized — brendan @ 2:29 pm

1 Comment »

  1. capacity building and expertise in conducting a good sea is fundamental to development in the developing nations. opportunities for hands on training will further this and enable impact making contributions to the PPP process

    Comment by Aduh Ufuoma — July 15, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

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