Confirming SEA definitional concept: assessing the extent to which SEA and environmental integration can be evaluated quantitatively and behaves systematically [Elektronische Ressource] / by Vincent Onyango
216 Pages
English
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Confirming SEA definitional concept: assessing the extent to which SEA and environmental integration can be evaluated quantitatively and behaves systematically [Elektronische Ressource] / by Vincent Onyango

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216 Pages
English

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Published 01 January 2010
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Declaration
I hereby declare that this thesis has not been previously published or written by another
person; neither has it been submitted nor accepted for any other academic award. It is the
result of my original work carried out at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus,
Germany, within the framework of the doctoral program in Environmental and Resource
Management. All materials from other sources have been duly and adequately acknowledged.
Vincent Onyango
stCottbus, 1 September 2009
iConfirming SEA Definitional Concept: Assessing the Extent to which
SEA and Environmental Integration can be Evaluated Quantitatively
and Behaves Systematically
A thesis approved by the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Process Engineering
at the Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus in partial fulfilment
of the requirement for the award of the academic degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in
Environmental Sciences
by
Master of Science Vincent Onyango
From Kisumu, Kenya.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr - Ing. Dr. h.c. Michael Schmidt
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Eike Albrecht
thDay of the oral examination: 28 January 2010
iiAcknowledgements
First and foremost, I wish to thank my supervisor Prof. Michael Schmidt for his guidance and
critical comments on key stages of my dissertation. Special acknowledgement also goes to
Prof Eike Albrecht for his supervisory role in my thesis. I would also like to thank the
International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) administration for their cooperation;
especially the IAIA members who responded to my emails and took the trouble to fill in my
questionnaires.
Special thanks go to my friends without whose keen support, inspiration and contributions my
dissertation would have taken much longer. Many thanks go to Hendrike and Paola for their
patience, comments and insightful contributions. I would also like to thank the DAAD’s
(German Academic Exchange Service) Africa Good Governance Network programme for
giving me financial support in the last year of my dissertation.
Finally, Edward O. Wilson’s Consilience – The Unity of Knowledge, has been an inspiring
piece of intellectual readership. As a tribute, I have liberally quoted from it at the beginning of
each part of the dissertation.
Thank you all!
iiiAbstract
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a concept and a decision-making support tool.
Based on its definitions, it is claimed that SEA can 1) contribute to the integration of
environmental concerns into strategic decisions: policies, plans and programmes (PPPs); and
that SEA 2) is a systematic process. Although these claims are widely acknowledged in SEA
research and practice, they remain largely unsubstantiated empirically. To date, SEA research
is dominated by qualitative-type approaches, investigating aspects of effectiveness, of context
and of elements of good practice. Quantitative-type research has been rare, and often
criticised on the basis that it is unable to capture and address the dynamic nature of PPP-
making processes, i.e. the involvement of a wide range of actors, the input of new information
and the existence of different views and interests, which give rise to uncertainty and
unpredictability. Nevertheless, the potential of quantitative research in SEA has yet to be fully
explored, and the extent to which SEA is meeting the two definitional claims mentioned
above remains untested and undetermined. Within this context, this study aims to apply a
quantitative research approach to SEA and verify the extent to which SEA contributes to
environmental integration (EI) and the extent to which SEA behaves systematically. It
achieves this by looking at UK practice as a case study. It applies questionnaire survey,
correlation analysis and sensitivity analysis as methods of quantitative research approach.
The findings of this research confirmed that quantitative methodologies can be successfully
applied to evaluate the presence and quality of SEA procedures and their outputs.
Furthermore, the degree of EI reflected in plans and programmes (PPs) because of the SEA,
as reflected in the PP’s environmental objectives and indicators, can be quantitatively
evaluated. However, to enhance this quantitative evaluation process, clearer and more precise
environmental objectives are needed. Of the two definitional SEA claims evaluated, that (1)
SEA contributes to EI in PPPs and that (2) SEA is a systematic process), there was weak
evidence to support the claim that SEA significantly achieved EI within UK SEA practice. Of
the second claim, it was concluded that the UK SEA process behaves as a systematic process
composed of negative and positive feedbacks. Moreover, the UK SEA process is a stable
system prone to over-development and with inadequate negative feedbacks to facilitate self-
regulation of the SEA process towards a certain range of EI.
Based on the findings, it is recommended that if SEA effectiveness and theory-building are to
be enhanced, application of more quantitative methods and hypothetico-deductive paradigms
ivof scientific enquiry should be applied in order to test and verify stated hypotheses.
Application of other quantitative methods such as Factor Analysis and/or Principal
Component Analysis should be considered in order to further establish the explanatory
elements for EI achievement, and contributory roles of various SEA elements in achieving EI.
Furthermore, quantitative approaches can facilitate calibrating of SEA reports and EI
achieved, and enhance standardisation and quality control. It is further recommended that if
SEA is to be understood as a systematic process with dynamic interactions amongst its
elements, then further research needs to be conducted to improve follow-up mechanisms and
establish quality hold points in order to enhance quality assurance. Specifically, more
negative feedback loops or best practice standards and quality control hold points should be
integrated into the SEA system in order for it to better self-regulate towards achieving a
defined range of EI.
vTable of Contents
Declaration.......................................................................................................................... i
Acknowledgements............................................................................................................. iii
Abstract ..............................................................................................................................iv
Lists of Figures, Tables and Boxes ......................................................................................ix
Lists of Acronyms and Abbreviations................................................................................. xii
PART I. RESEARCH CONTEXT AND FRAMEWORK ..................................................... 1
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................... 2
1.1 Research problem, assumption and hypothesis .............................................................. 5
1.2 Justification for research............................................................................................... 7
1.3 Research aims, objectives and questions.......................................................................10
1.4 Research approach and methods ..................................................................................11
1.5 Expected contribution of research ................................................................................13
1.6 Structure of dissertation ...............................................................................................13
CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY...................................................................................16
2.1 Choosing the UK as a case study..................................................................................16
2.2 Literature review..........................................................................................................17
2.3 Questionnaire surveys ..................................................................................................17
2.4 Correlation analysis.....................................................................................................18
2.4.1 Quantitative evaluation of SEA..............................................................................21
2.4.2 Quantitative evaluation of Environmental Integration (EI) .....................................23
2.4.3 Background and conceptual basis of OSPA............................................................24
2.5 Sensitivity analysis .......................................................................................................29
2.6 Research analytical framework ....................................................................................32
2.6.1 Analytical approach ...............................................................................................33
2.6.2 Validity and reliability of results ............................................................................35
PART II. SEA, DEFINITIONAL CLAIMS AND THEORY-BUILDING ...........................38
CHAPTER 3 SEA BACKGROUND AND KEY CLAIMS IN SEA DEFINITIONS....................................39
3.1 SEA background, evolution, benefits and approaches...................................................39
3.1.1 SEA evolution........................................................................................................41
3.1.2 SEA benefits..........................................................................................................43
3.1.3 SEA approaches.....................................................................................................44
3.2 Key claims in SEA definitions.......................................................................................45
3.2.1 SEA achievement of Environmental Integration (EI)..............................................47
3.2.2 SEA as a systematic process...................................................................................49
3.3 SEA Systematic delivery of Environmental Integration (EI) ..........................................51
3.3.1 The SEA Directive: a framework for systematic EI ................................................54
3.3.2 SEA and EI in the UK: legal and policy frameworks..............................................56
3.3.3 SEA process in the UK ..........................................................................................60
3.3.4 Environmental objectives, indicators and targets ....................................................63
CHAPTER 4 QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION IN SEA THEORY-BUILDING......................................66
4.1 Qualitative versus quantitative research approaches in SEA ........................................69
4.2 Potential of quantitative evaluation in SEA theory-building..........................................72
vi4.3 SEA evaluation elements ..............................................................................................74
PART III. RESULTS ..............................................................................................................77
CHAPTER 5 QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY ......................................................................................78
5.1 Understanding of EI .....................................................................................................79
5.2 Satisfaction with SEA role in achieving Environmental Integration (EI) .......................82
5.3 Effectiveness of SEA procedural and contextual elements.............................................86
5.4 Quantitative evaluation of SEA and Environmental Integration ....................................91
5.5 Summary of results and findings...................................................................................92
CHAPTER 6 CORRELATION ANALYSIS ......................................................................................94
6.1 Correlation between SEA elements ...............................................................................95
6.2 Correlation between EI elements..................................................................................99
6.3 Correlation between SEA and EI ................................................................................104
6.4 Summary of results and findings.................................................................................105
6.5 Quantitative evaluation of SEA and EI .......................................................................106
6.5.1 Quantitative evaluation of SEA procedures and their output.................................107
6.5.2 Quantitative evaluation of EI................................................................................108
6.5.3 Summary of results and findings ..........................................................................110
CHAPTER 7 SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS .......................................................................................111
7.1 Cybernetic evaluation.................................................................................................111
7.2 Summary of results and findings.................................................................................118
7.3 Scenario simulations ..................................................................................................119
7.4 Summary of results and findings.................................................................................129
PART IV. IMPLICATION OF RESULTS ..........................................................................132
CHAPTER 8: ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS.............................................................133
8.1 Deductive analysis......................................................................................................133
8.2 Inductive analysis.......................................................................................................134
8.3 Triangulation analysis................................................................................................139
8.4 Extent SEA and EI are amenable to quantitative evaluation .......................................140
8.5 Verification of claims in SEA definitions.....................................................................141
8.5.1 SEA fails to significantly achieve EI in UK PPs...................................................141
8.5.2 Systematic nature of SEA is weak and poorly developed......................................142
8.6 Weak correlation between SEA scores, SEA elements and EI......................................142
8.7 Verification of assumptions held in the research.........................................................143
8.7.1 Higher SEA scores do not lead to higher EI scores...............................................143
8.7.2 No specific cluster of SEA elements associated to achieving EI ...........................143
CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .............................................................144
9.1 Lessons learnt ............................................................................................................144
9.2 Constraints.................................................................................................................147
9.3 Overall conclusion .....................................................................................................150
9.4 Recommendations.......................................................................................................151
9.5 Scope for further research..........................................................................................153
9.6 SEA outlook - challenges and future steps in enhancing theory-building.....................156
viiANNEXES .............................................................................................................................159
LEGISLATIONS, NORMS AND REGULATIONS...........................................................................187
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................189
viiiLists of Figures, Tables and Boxes
List of Figures
Figure 1.1: Process of theory-building according to hypothetico-deductive paradigm ................ 4
Figure 1.2: Inductive approach for theory-generation ................................................................12
Figure 1.3: Deductive approach for theory-verification..............................................................12
Figure 1.4: Schematic structure of study and relationships between research objectives.............15
Figure 2.1: Schematic showing quantitative evaluation of an SEA report ..................................21
Figure 2.2: Recursive structure of the Sensitivity Model ...........................................................31
Figure 2.3: Analytical framework showing the approaches and criteria......................................33
Figure 3.1: An overview of SEA process and outputs ...............................................................62
Figure 4.1: Transitioning from descriptive to normative theory .................................................67
Figure 5.1: Composition of roles represented by the respondents...............................................78
Figure 5.2: Respondents’ understanding of the term Environment .............................................79
Figure 5.3: Respondents’ understanding of the term Environmental Integration (EI) .................80
Figure 5.4: Understanding of Environmental Integration (EI) disaggregated by sector of SEA
expertise.............................................................................................................................81
Figure 5.5: Experts’ satisfaction with SEA in achieving EI........................................................82
Figure 5.6: Bases of respondents’ belief in SEA ability to achieve EI ........................................84
Figure 5.7: Clarity on SEA elements that contributed to achieving EI........................................85
Figure 5.8: Effectiveness of SEA procedural elements in achieving EI ......................................86
Figure 5.9: Effectiveness of SEA contextual elements in achieving EI ......................................87
Figure 5.10: Effectiveness of SEA procedural and contextual elements in achieving EI.............87
Figure 5.11: Net effectiveness of SEA procedure and context elements.....................................88
Figure 5.12: Average scores for procedure and context elements...............................................89
Figure 5.13: Voting patterns on need for quantitative approaches in SEA and EI.......................91
Figure 7.1: Impact matrix depicting how strongly SEA elements interact ................................111
Figure 7.2: Impact values indicating degree of influence of each element................................112
Figure 7.3: Characterisation of influence of individual SEA elements .....................................113
Figure 7.4: Spread of SEA elements according to systemic roles ............................................115
Figure 7.5: Scheme to interpret the graphical spread of SEA elements ....................................116
Figure 7.6: List of negative and positive feedback loops..........................................................118
Figure 7.7: Exploratory simulation ..........................................................................................119
Figure 7.8: Exploratory simulation – mitigation ......................................................................120
Figure 7.9: Exploratory simulation – mitigation and scoping ...................................................120
Figure 7.10: Exploratory simulation – effect of very low EI ....................................................121
Figure 7.11: Exploratory simulation – effect of low SEA framework ......................................122
Figure 7.12: Exploratory simulation – effect of political will...................................................123
Figure 7.13: Exploratory simulation – effect of political will and quality control.....................123
Figure 7.14: Exploratory simulation – effect of political will...................................................124
Figure 7.15: Exploring context parameters ..............................................................................125
Figure 7.16: Exploring context parameters ..............................................................................125
Figure 7.17: Exploring context elements – environmental and sustainability objectives...........126
Figure 7.18: Exploring context elements – environmental and sustainability objectives...........126
ixFigure 7.19: Quality control and environmental and sustainability objectives ..........................127
Figure 7.20: Influence of low political will and M&E..............................................................128
Figure 7.21: Dynamics between M&E and public and civil society awareness.........................129
List of Tables
Table 2.1: Indicative classification of strength of correlation ................................................................ 19
Table 2.2: Disaggregated SEA samples according to sectors..................................................................20
Table 2.3: Notations of various combinations of SEA element and SEA scores............................... 23
Table 2.4: EI scores and their notations .........................................................................................................28
Table 3.1: Linkage and similarities between SEA and SA stages.......................................................... 61
Table 5.1: Disaggregated results on proof and SEA delivery of EI....................................................... 76
Table 6.1: Spearman’s rho correlations – SEA procedure quality scores (PQ) and SEA
aggregated score ..........................................................................................................................................95
Table 6.2: Correlation between procedure quality (PQ) and procedure output (PO) ...................... 96
Table 6.3: Spearman’s rho correlations of various SEA scores ............................................................. 97
Table 6.4: Spearman’s rho correlations – Development plans ............................................................... 98
Table 6.5: Spearman’s rho correlations – Transport plans ......................................................................99
Table 6.6: Spearman’s rho correlation – environmental objectives (SMT) and EI ........................101
Table 6.7: Spearman’s rho correlation – SEA elements (PS) and EI .................................................102
Table 6.8: Spearman’s rho correlation – SEA and EI scores ................................................................103
Table 6.9: Descriptive statistics for average SEA procedure (PS) and EI scores.......................106
Table 6.10: Descriptive statistics on SEA procedure output quality (PO).........................................106
Table 6.11: Ranking according to average scores for SEA procedures tally (TS) and
procedures quality (PS)............................................................................................................................107
Table 6.12: Descriptive statistics of data from EI scores........................................................................108
Table 6.13: Descriptive statistics for quantitative data for objectives (SMT scores; N=47) ........108
Table 6.14: Descriptive statistics for quantitative data for indicators (SMRT scores)...................109
Table 6.15: Ranking of objectives and indicators based on relative descriptive statistics ...........109
Table 6.16: Ranking of objectives and indicators based on Table 6.15..............................................109
List of Boxes
Box 1: Proposed elements of SEA theories (Fischer 2007) ......................................................... 9
Box 2: Criteria guiding quantitative evaluation of SEA procedure presence (TS); procedure
quality (PQ); and procedure output quality (PO).................................................................22
Box 3: Criteria guiding quantitative evaluation of statements of environmental objectives and
indicators using the S, M, R & T elements..........................................................................28
Box 4: Classification of parameter ranges..................................................................................32
Box 5: Some commonly used definitions of SEA ......................................................................46
Box 6: UK consultation bodies in the various territorial jurisdictions ........................................61
Box 7: Summarised strengths and weakness of qualitative and quantitative methods.................71
Box 8: Indicative list of generic SEA procedural (P) and contextual (C) elements .....................75
Box 9: Experts’ reasons why SEA was not achieving EI ...........................................................82
x