Social Impact Assessment: The lesser sibling in the South African EIA process?
Environmental Impact Assessment Review
African Centre for Disaster Studies, Research Focus Area: Social Transformation, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa; Environmental Assessment Research Group, School of Geo and Spatial Sciences, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa
Social Impact Assessment has developed as an integral but neglected component of EIA in South Africa since it became mandatory in 1997, and has therefore been referred to as the "orphan" or "lesser sibling" of EIA, as has SIA in the UK and the US. The aim of this paper is to test this claim by reviewing the quality of a sample of SIA reports, and also to establish whether there has been any improvement in quality following the introduction of revised EIA regulations in 2006. The results confirm that SIA can be called "the lesser sibling" due to the weak grades achieved in the quality review, but also reveal that there has been a slight and consistent improvement in quality, most likely driven by best practice considerations in the absence of prescriptive regulations for SIA. Suggestions and recommendations for addressing observed weakness in SIA performance are advanced. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Environmental impact assessments; Planning; Effectiveness; EIA; Lesser sibling; Quality reviews; Social impact assessments; South Africa; Economic and social effects; best management practice; environmental impact assessment; literature review; performance assessment; social change; South Africa; United Kingdom; United States