26 Marine Surveys & Assessments

Marine Surveys & Assessments

Marine Impact Assessments

To avoid further deterioration and to facilitate recovery of the marine environment a comprehensive understanding of the implications of a development is a pre-requisite. The approach needs to be rigorous, transparent, evidence based and scientifically robust. Achieving such aspirations is complicated because the marine environment is more difficult to work in than terrestrial environments.

Much less is known about the distribution of marine biodiversity life than of terrestrial ecosystems,
and acquiring new information can be very expensive and time-consuming.This means that the process of rigorous assessment holds many challenges, and that there will often be considerable uncertainty about what will be found.

EcIA is a key component of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), which are carried out to meet the requirements of Council Directive 85/337/EEC on the Assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment3, as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC4. The statutory instruments that implement these Directives in the UK together with associated guidance are listed in Appendix 8 of Environmental Impact Assessment: guide to procedures5 and can be accessed via the HMSO's web site6 and/or web sites of the UK Government and the devolved governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In the Republic of Ireland guidance is available from the EPA Guidelines on information to be contained in Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)7 and statutory instruments can be accessed via the Irish Statute Book8. The statutory instruments are particular to each country and to different types of development. Collectively, they are referred  as the EIA Regulations. Where an EcIA is undertaken as part of an EIA, it is subject to the relevant EIA Regulations.

Legislation relating to the marine environment is rapidly evolving and practitioners should always check for changes and revisions. Developing legislation includes:
  • The Water Framework Directive9
  • The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive12
  • The Environmental Liability Directive13
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (England and Wales) 15
  • The Marine (Scotland) Act 201016,
  • A Marine Bill for Northern Ireland and
  • The European Communities (Marine Strategy Framework) Regulations 2010, Ireland

Safety Management

Safety Management will be at the heart of the control system as suggested by ISO 18000 Standards. Part of that process will be the systems and procedures set out for operations and the quality of the assessments regarding what has to be done. Training is a vital part of ensuring that this is done to up to standards and that the directors execute their duties under the law.

Risk Assessments

All operations should be carried out in line with good risk assessments and method statements often referred to as RAMS. These RAMS need to be authored by competent people with sound experience of the activity being carried out. Once this has been done the whole process is subject to control and review for operational effectiveness. Operational RAMS are different from Design Risk Assessments and Risk Registers discussed in our CDM section of the web site.

Incident Investigation

All vessels are required to be regularly inspected and various organisations are approved to carry out this work. It is important that these surveys and incidents investigations are carried out to agreed standards by competent professionals. Some incident will be carried out be the MAIB and or the HSE based on the agreed concordant.
Accreditations for QHSE services in Quality, Health, Safety, Environment
QHSE services in Quality, Health, Safety, Environment

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