Environmental impacts of large-scale linear developments
This paper was submitted for the 2021 International Association for Impact Assessment Conference.
Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, enthusiasm for globalisation has continued to
grow steadily. One component of this trend has been an escalation of interest in new and
rejuvenated infrastructure projects. Many regions have identified corridors as platforms to
catalyse and deliver economic growth and development. This is driven by the need to
address an enduring infrastructure deficit and, more recently, as contributions to postpandemic recovery.
Infrastructure programmes can be optimised to deliver wide development outcomes,
including economic diversification, regional integration, increased trade, and improved
livelihoods. However, in the absence of rigorous planning and impact assessment, these
programmes can also result in negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems, livelihoods,
cultures, rights and communities and development opportunities will be missed. With
effective application of environmental planning this situation can be managed to ensure
maximisation of positive opportunities and minimisation of negative risks. However, there
are indications that the urgency of current priorities is also being accompanied by a
relaxation of environmental planning requirements.
Jonathan Hobbs, Diego Juffe-Bignoli, Kate Gannon, Jessica Thorn, Robert Marchant, Lucy
Waruingi, Divya Narain. May 2021.