Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Auditing in Large-scale Public Infrastructure Construction: the case of Qinghai-Tibet Railway

G. He, L. Zhang, Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large-scale public infrastructure projects have featured in China’s modernization course since the early 1980s. During the early stages of China’s rapid economic development, public attention focused on the economic and social impact of high-profile construction projects. In recent years, however, we have seen a shift in public concern toward the environmental and ecological effects of such projects, and today governments are required to provide valid environmental impact assessments prior to allowing large-scale construction. The official requirement for the monitoring of environmental conditions has led to an increased number of debates in recent years regarding the effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Governmental Environmental Audits (GEAs) as environmental safeguards in instances of large-scale construction. Although EIA and GEA are conducted by different institutions and have different goals and enforcement potential, these two practices can be closely related in terms of methodology. This article cites the construction of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway as an instance in which EIA and GEA offer complementary approaches to environmental impact management. This study concludes that the GEA approach can serve as an effective follow-up to the EIA and establishes that the EIA lays a base for conducting future GEAs. The relationship that emerges through a study of the Railway’s construction calls for more deliberate institutional arrangements and cooperation if the two practices are to be used in concert to optimal effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-589
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • eia process
  • follow-up
  • management
  • china

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