BSc Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN20521
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 5
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Environmental planning is concerned with society’s collective stewardship of the earth’s natural resources. Environmental planning is underpinned by the principles of sustainable development. It is a diverse activity that draws on multiple theoretical and practical approaches. Understanding environmental planning requires an appreciation of interdisciplinarity, and an awareness of relationships between different spatial scales, sectors and stakeholders. This course explores various environmental planning concepts, principles and approaches in the context of contemporary challenges including protecting the environment through landscape designations, mitigating and adapting to climate change and reducing the negative environmental impacts of major development projects through the application of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).  The course is divided into two sections. These are designed to provide students with a broad understanding of contemporary environmental planning themes and methods used in practice. The first section introduces environmental planning from a broad perspective, exploring prominent contextual and thematic issues and links to sustainable development. Specific attention is paid to spatial planning, which concerns the development and use of land and has an important role to play in environmental planning in practice. The second section of the course reflects upon the development, utility and practice of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). EIA is an example of a specific environmental planning and protection approach that is used by environmental managers and planners globally to support the conservation and enhancement of environmental quality.


The unit aims to:

  • Introduce the policy background of environmental planning and its impacts on the effective management of environmental resources at multiple scales.
  • Stimulate thinking on the role of environmental planning in the delivery of sustainable development, with a particular focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Explore the effectiveness of current planning measures for the management of a variety of designated landscapes.
  • Develop knowledge on broad principles and core stages of Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Reflect critically on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and its contribution to the management of environmental impacts associated with major projects.

Learning outcomes

A significant area of employment for graduates of the BSc (Hons) Environmental Management is in environmental planning and environmental impact assessment (EIA). Ensuring our undergraduates have a solid grounding in these core areas is very important for student outcomes. This includes understanding the foundational principles of environmental planning, some of the challenges and opportunities for practical implementation, and embedding knowledge of the procedural aspects of EIA.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture-based sessions:

Each week has an interactive lecture, including interactive components with small group and whole class discussion on different aspects of environmental planning and impact assessment.


Seminars run to allow students to explore some of the core concepts and practical applications in greater depth, and to build their own knowledge through debate, as well as to provide an opportunity to discuss the assignments. Most of the workshop sessions draw directly from the lecture content and directed reading.

Field Visit:

One full day field visit will provide an opportunity for students to experience the practical implementation of environmental planning over a range of sites across Greater Manchester, with reference to one specific theme studied within the course unit.

Directed reading:

Each week, suggested readings are provided, with additional material provided on Blackboard as a range of mixed-media content.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Define environmental planning and protection and discuss the rationale for related interventions
  • Identify and debate contemporary environmental planning issues and approaches

Intellectual skills

  • Evaluate and discuss established and emerging concepts in environmental planning and impact assessment
  • Evaluate and discuss themes influencing environmental planning and impact assessment in practice

Practical skills

  • Identify appropriate approaches to address specific environmental challenges
  • Synthesise and analyse multiple sources of information and research outputs

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop writing skills
  • Communicate concepts and ideas through written reports and essays

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 60%
Report 40%

Feedback methods

Through Turnitin within 15 working days of submission

Recommended reading

Barrow, C. 2006. Environmental Management: Principles and Practice, Routledge, London.

Bulkeley, H. 2012. Cities and Climate Change, Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Davoudi, S., Crawford, J. and Mahmood, A. 2009. Planning for Climate Change: Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners, Routledge, London.

Glasson, J., Thérivel, R. and Chadwick, A. 2012. Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment, 4th edition, UCL Press, London,

Kenny, M. and Meadowcroft, J. 1999. Planning Sustainability, Routledge. London.

Layard, A., Davoudi, S. and Batty, S. (eds.). 2001. Planning for a Sustainable Future, Spon, London.

Morris, P. and Therivel, R. (eds.) 2009. Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment 3rd edition, UCL Press, London.

Roberts, J. 2011. Environmental Policy 2nd edition, Routledge, London.

Rosenzweig, C., Solecki, W.D., Hammer, S. A., Mehrohtra, S., (Eds). 2011. Climate Change and Cities First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Available at

Rydin, Y. 2010. Governing for Sustainable Urban Development, Earthscan, London.

Rydin, Y. 2011. The Purpose of Planning: Creating Sustainable Towns and Cities, Policy Press, Bristol.

Selman, P. 2000. Environmental Planning, 2nd edition, SAGE, London.

White, I. 2015. Environmental Planning in Context 2nd edition, Routledge, London.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 8
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 160

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jeremy Carter Unit coordinator

Return to course details