ENVPL303-22B (HAM)

Environmental Assessment and Policy

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Environmental Planning


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: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
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    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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The paper provides an understanding of the types of environmental assessments used to assist decision-making and inform policy implementation. It develops students' knowledge of environmental pressures with the means to assess those and provide a policy response. The paper comprises two Modules: Module 1- Environmental Impact Assessment, and Module 2 - Environmental Policy and Decision-Making. Modules are run concomitantly. The first Module covers all steps involved in current practice of environmental impact assessment (EIA) in Aotearoa-New Zealand and internationally. The second Module is designed to enable students to work in teams to learn to apply a range of tools and techniques to appraise environmental impacts using a real location facing a real issue (e.g., coastal hazards, floods, major infrastructure development, water quality). Taking a systems perspective (ecological, social, economic and cultural aspects), students learn to identify and evaluate beneficial and adverse effects of different alternatives to minimise or mitigate negative impacts and optimise positive ones. Students also develop their understanding of the policy, planning and decision-making processes in Aotearoa, including the preparation and implementation of policy frameworks addressing environmental issues.
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Paper Structure

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The paper will be delivered through Moodle-based lessons (online), lectures and team workshops (flexy/sync) each week, and a full-day field trip (Tuesday August 16). The project theme selected for this year is coastal adaptation, with a focus on coastal issues affecting the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga area.

Students will be part of the same team for the whole trimester. Individual contribution to the team's project is essential to complete this course.

Please note that content outlined in the schedule may change depending on guest-speakers' availability.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Understand current international procedures to carry out environmental impact assessments
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand the mitigation hierarchy and the ability to determine and assess appropriate mitigation techniques to environmental and social stressors
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand, appraise and select coastal adaptation strategies in line with Aotearoa's Planning Regime
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Develop skills for the design and implementation of basic environmental policy in Aotearoa's planning context
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Response to Project Brief

This is a team assignment. Students will prepare a project brief proposal in response to a hypothetical tender call for a coastal adaptation plan. The Response to Project Brief will involve the following components:

1. Cover letter

2. Introduction

3. Provision of services

4. Project team and relevant experience

5. Administrative matters

6. Conclusion

The Response to Project Brief is worth 10% of student's total marks, should not exceed 1500 words (including in-text references) plus supporting material (e.g. maps, diagrams, tables etc.), and must be submitted electronically through Moodle. Submission due date is Friday 5 August.

Individual Research Report

This is an individual assignment worth 20% of student's total marks. Students will individually research one type of adaptation option to complement the team's skills and expertise (including socio-institutional adaptation, built infrastructure & technology, and marine & coastal nature-based solutions). The research report will involve the following tasks:

1. Cover sheet

2. Executive summary

3. Introduction

4. Detailed description of selected adaptation option

5. Appraisal of selected adaptation option

6. Conclusions and recommendations

The Report should not exceed 2000 words (including in-text references) plus supporting material (e.g. maps, diagrams etc.), and must be submitted electronically through Moodle. Submission due date is Friday 26 August.

Project Presentation (Proposed Dynamic Adaptation Pathways Planning)

This is a team assignment worth 15% of students total marks. Students will start developing a Dynamic Adaptation Pathways Planning (DAPP) to advance coastal adaptation planning for the selected coastal location. This will include the definition of adaptation options and outline of implementation matters.
Presentations will be approximately 15 minutes and must be uploaded to the desktop and TURNITIN 60 minutes before scheduled class. Presentations will be scheduled during the last two weeks of the semester. Students are expected to attend all presentations.

Coastal Adaptation Planning Report

This is a team assignment worth 30% of students total marks. The final report should include the following components:

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Executive summary (2 pages maximum, handout format)
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Introduction to the topic and key adaptation issues
  5. Site/locality description
  6. Description of selected adaptation options
  7. Appraisal of selected adaptation options
  8. Proposed Dynamic Adaptation Pathways Planning (DAPP)
  9. DAPP implementation framework
  10. Conclusion
  11. References

The final report should not exceed 5000 words (including in-text references) plus supporting material (e.g. maps, diagrams etc.) and must be submitted electronically through Moodle. Submission due date is Friday 21 October. All supporting analyses should be included in a Supporting Document that does not have a word limit.

Peer assessment

Team involvement will include student's participation and share of team work in the completion of the project reflected through individual peer-assessments.

This is an individual assessment worth 10% of students total marks. Peer-assessments must be submitted electronically through Moodle. Submission due date is Friday 21 October.

Moodle-based lessons

Ten lessons will be distributed throughout the trimester and must be completed in sequence (weeks 1 to 10 inclusive). They are designed to complement your weekly learning and the content related to the broad practice of environmental impact assessment, and assist in the completion of workshops. Lessons are worth 15% of total marks (1.5 point per lesson) and should be completed weekly by Sunday.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Response to project brief
5 Aug 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Individual research report
26 Aug 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Coastal Planning Report
21 Oct 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Project presentation (policy implementation framework)
  • In Class: In Workshop
5. Peer-assessment
21 Oct 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
6. Moodle-based lessons
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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1. Bridges et al. (eds), 2021. International Guidelines on Natural and Nature‑Based Features for Flood Risk Management. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

2. Department of Conservation, 2010. New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010. New Zealand Department of Conservation.

3. Bell et al., 2017. Coastal Hazards and Climate Change. Guidance for Local Government. Ministry for the Environment.

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Recommended Readings

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Other Course Readings List will be available on Moodle and on course readings list via Library.
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Online Support

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Moodle: This paper is supported through Moodle http://elearn.waikato.ac.nz/.

Important information about the paper will be provided to students via Moodle. Lecture notes will be posted prior to each online lecture.

Student's grades will also be accessible through Moodle once work has been assessed.

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Students should attend all scheduled team workshops (on-campus), special arrangements for students based in Tauranga and outside of the Hamilton area will be provided. Students should count on spending a minimum of 150 hours on the paper.

Student's work load should amount to an average of 9-10 hours per week (including the mid-semester break and study week).

Silvia Serrao-Neumann is the course convenor of the paper and will be available to answer course queries.

Students having difficulty with completing their assignments on time, attending team workshops or understanding lectures, should seek an appointment with the course convenor.

All lecture notes and material to assist the completion of projects will be available on Moodle.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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While the Paper has no pre-requisites, students will draw on learnings from previous papers such as process for resource consent under the RMA 1991, GIS and other relevant skills required to complete assignments.
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