Envigo / Overview

Environmental Impact Assessment is a complex process of identifying, predicting, and evaluating all relevant impacts that some development proposals may have on the environment. This procedure aims to avoid or reduce negative effects on population and the environment that may occur during construction,
operation and decommissioning phase of a project.

The evaluation process is performed by a qualified specialist,
and it is mandatory for a wide range of economic activities.
The procedure is regulated by law and regulations in almost all countries of the world, including Serbia. The legal framework
in Serbia is unified, through national acts, on the basis of
Directive 2011/92/EU.

EIA assessors are still facing challenges while conducting environmental impact assessments, due to complexity of multidisciplinary work, lack of time for detailed quantitative analysis and measurements, often a lack of objectivity and systematic approach, and lack of specialized computer tools to support the work
of experts.

Eon+ strives to overcome some of the challenges in EIA, by creating Envigo – a web software for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Envigo system helps experts / assessors to conduct the EIA studies (or statements) more efficiently and objectively. Envigo main features and benefits are highlighted at the software dedicated site.

 

The software can be used for all investment proposals and existing projects for which EIA is mandatory, and this includes investments and activities in various economic sectors:

Envigo complies fully with law regulations, covering all phases of the assessment procedure, consisting of:

Envigo software may be also used for monitoring the effects on the environment for existing projects, i.e. for subsequent evaluation and reduction of negative effects to the surrounding environment.

 

How Envigo works? Experts are expected to insert in Envigo software the information about the project, alternatives and environmental conditions. The software leads the user through the complete EIA procedure and offers professional textual help for filling contents, gathered from high quality and relevant literature, as well as from foreign and domestic best practices. Envigo contains a large database of potential impacts which are filtered by the economy sector. Therefore, only those impacts that might be relevant for a type of project, are displayed from the application database. The impact database effectively provides significant assistance to users in the process of identifying and predicting potential impacts for particular investment proposal.

Envigo expert system for EIA optimized impact
  • In addition to this, Envigo software contains a matrix-scoring method for evaluating each individual impact, based on the expert’s answers to simple questions, (evaluation criteria) that are supplied
    to Envigo matrix formula. After impacts have been evaluated and grouped based on the obtained scores, Envigo software provides the possibility to create different images, diagrams, tables and statistics containing quantified impacts for the project and its alternatives. Thus, these results may be subjected to efficient and objective
    result analysis, in order to define appropriate mitigation measures to prevent, reduce and offset adverse effects. In the end of each phase, Envigo collects the entire content and creates high-quality reports, which fully complies with the legal framework, that can be submitted directly to competent authorities.
  • During the development of Envigo, special attention was paid to the user interface, which was designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, graphically clear, simplified and attractive. Eon+ pays special attention to the users of Envigo offering different means of courses, tutorials, technical support, etc. Visit our Support page and learn more about it.

    Envigo is a user-friendly software, that provides significant assistance to environmental experts and facilitates their work by speeding up the assessment process, making it more objective, systematic and easily controllable. All of this significantly cuts costs to companies and individuals conducting EIA.

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Prof dr Andelka Mihajlov
Environmental Scientist and Consultant

 

Below you can find more details about the basic parts and functions of the software, grouped by EIA procedure phases.

Click on the arrow for more text

The first phase of EIA is to determine whether
EIA is required for a particular project, for both new investment proposals and existing projects (so-called EIA of the current state). Competent authorities will determine whether EIA is required, based on the Screening report submitted by the investor or his representative expert – consultant.

The part of Envigo software that helps users (experts or investors) in the first phase of EIA process is called Screening. Under the provisions of the Law on the Environmental Impact Assessment, and subsequent lists of projects, where types of projects are specified and grouped by economy sectors, it is determined whether a project requires EIA or not. The EIA is mandatory for types of projects, specified in List I, and for others, specified in List II, it is required if they are deemed likely to have a significant effect on the environment. This decision is made by competent authority after their evaluation of the
Screening report.

At the beginning, in application Envigo / Screening the user is expected to identify the project category which a particular investment proposal falls into,
as shown in the figure on the right:

Envigo application EIA screening
EIA screening Envigo software help

If a project is of a type specified in List I, EIA is straightforwardly required, Screening phase is finished, and the user proceeds to the next phase. However, if the project falls within the List II,, then the software will run the pages for filling out the content of Screening report The user enters the information about the the investment proposal, its location and surroundings and related potential significant impacts, in the text boxes underneath the headings defined by Serbian Republic acts. In addition, the software offers professional textual help for filling contents, as illustrated in the figure on the left:

Envigo web application for EIA
Thereafter, the user is expected to fill checklist -Brief Project Description, whose content is also defined by the State acts. In Envigo / Screening application, this checklist is clear and easy to fill out, as illustrated in the figure on the right: Envigo SaaS - environmental impact assessment checklists
Envigo EIA checklists
Envigo software EIA procedure

At the top of each page (see image above), there is
an interactive navigator displaying the contents of the Envigo / Screening application and work progress, which facilitates the work.

Envigo software also provides templates for cover letter, details for payments of administrative fees,
as well as the possibility to upload and attach the accompanying documentation. Finally, the software creates a well formatted, technically neat and graphically attractive Screening report in PDF
format, ready for submission in printed form
to the competent authority.

Envigo includes a projects panel, which helps users
to have track record of projects, phases and current status of a project.

Envigo facilitates environmental impact assessments

If EIA is required, the following phase is Scoping. Scoping report is also submitted to the competent authorities, for approval. The part of Envigo that covers this phase of EIA is called Scoping, and it is
very intuitive and user-friendly.

This phase, as well as its corresponding software application, is more comprehensive than Screening. The user is expected to enter more information about the project and the environment, collected from various sources or measured on site. Initially, the user adds into the text boxes more detailed description
of the project as well as description of considered alternative(s) to the main investment proposal.
Then, the expert should enter descriptions of the environment at and around location. In this phase, titles and subtitles are also defined by the Serbian state acts. Envigo provides text formatting features, including creation or inserting tables, and images. Just like in the previous phase, users are provided with the help for filling the content below mandatory headings. Interactive navigator offers a good overview, which improves the general sense of progress. It speeds up and simplifies backward and forward movements through the application (shown below the header in the following figure). By clicking the floating button on the application right hand side the expert has direct access to the content of previous phases, as illustrated in the figure on the right. By opening the content, the user can simply copy the desired parts from the Screening report, and paste them in Scoping application.

The most important part of Envigo / Scoping is the description of potentially significant impacts on the environment. Envigo / Scoping offers assistance to users in the process of identification and prediction of impacts by displaying a large number of potential impacts from the Envigo database. The database widely covers potentially negative, as well as positive impacts on environment, containing also the causes for their occurrence. That way it reduces the possibility of overlooking or neglecting some impacts. Envigo is created using high-quality and relevant literature, as well as examples from practice. A broad, holistic approach to environmental protection was used in defining impacts.

Only those impacts that might be relevant for a project type, where a particular investment proposal falls into, are displayed from the database in the application (impacts are filtered by the economy sector). In addition, all impacts are divided into six environmental categories, in order to be easily identified, structured and analyzed.

Environmental impact statements Envigo application
Envigo environmental categories for impact evaluation
EIA scoping impact database and identification

Every potential impact may occur in one or more phases of the project life cycle: construction, operation and decommissioning. Specialists need to define in which (if in any) of these phases a particular impact occurs. Besides that, an expert should enter a brief description of each impact, and is expected to predict whether the impact will have minor or major significance. Moreover, Envigo allows adding specific impacts, which are not suggested by the Envigo database, or changing the textual phrase of existing ones, thus providing flexibility. The figure on the left shows the graphical user interface of the table that
is used in identification of impacts.

Intuitive graphic symbols (square, circle, check, minus, etc.) next to the environmental categories (the list on the left in the picture) and next to the textual phrases of potential impacts (the list on the right in the picture), are intended for tracking work progress (status and completion).

After the process of identification and description of potential significant impacts is done, the experts enter descriptions of environmental impacts in case of accident. In the following step the user should enter
a description of preliminary measures to prevent any significant adverse effects, followed by an indication of possible difficulties and write a non-technical summary. At the end, the user should fill in two checklists that are broader than the one in Envigo / Screening application, but with similar structure and software features.

In the application Envigo / Scoping user is also provided with additional templates for the cover letter, administrative fees, and uploading of the supporting documentation. Finally, software creates the Scoping PDF report, with similar graphic design
as for the Screening one. After creating a preliminary PDF document, if needed, the user can go back to rearrange images, tables and text in order to improve text break in the report final layout, which will be submitted to the competent authority. Obviously, in case the competent authority demands an amendment to Scoping report, user should re-access Envigo / Scoping application and make necessary changes
and additions.

The last phase in the EIA procedure is the preparation of Environmental Impact Statement Report (EIS), which is the main document, because it includes
full information on the project, location, impacts
and mitigation measures. Therefore, this part is the
most complex and the longest in the EIA procedure.
In Serbia, the content of EIA Study is regulated by
the specific law. The Statement report is submitted
to the competent institution and reviewed by
the independent experts body responsible for recommendations on decisions made subsequently
by the authority. Providing society with complete and precise information on a proposed project through Environmental Impact Assessment report is obligatory. Moreover, public participation is considered a crucial part of EIA process, and the interested parties are able to submit comments and recommendations. The body notifies the public that it has reached the decision, and after granting the decision on the approval for an EIA Study, the EIA process is finished.

This part of Envigo software, called Envigo / Study, is used for EIS Review. The application follows the basic content of Serbian state law on EIA, in the order given in the document (which is also customary in practice). The main content, i.e. sub-phases of Envigo / Study application are displayed in an interactive navigator (on the top of each page), and the expert can use
it for moving forward and backward through
the application.

First, the user enters introductory information on the project. Then, the user describes the project in detail, starting with location, outline of the main alternatives, followed by environmental aspects (providing more detailed description than in the Scoping phase) based on collected information, measurements, simulations performed in other software, as well as personal experience. In addition, text, images and tables entered into Envigo / Study application can be
easily formatted using text processor tools.

By clicking on one of the two floating buttons (which are moving as the page is being moved) the expert has direct access to the content of previous phases. By opening the content of Screening and Scoping, the user can copy necessary parts from aforementioned phases into the current phase.

The subtitles above the text boxes are defined in accordance with the state law. Since the law defines just a binding content, i.e. the headings are not strictly defined (as in the Screening and Scoping phase), Envigo / Study software provides the user with the flexibility to manipulate the headings. User may change the default sub headings or change the order by dragging them to desired position (by dragging
the arrow adjacent to the subtitles, as shown in the figure on the right). There is also an option to delete subtitles (character X in the figure on the right), as well as
the option to add a completely new title.

Environmental impact study in Envigo software
EIA software Envigo features
Environmental impacts evaluation method Envigo

The most important part of the Envigo / Study is
the process of evaluation of possible impacts on the environment. The user had identified all impacts that may occur during the construction, operation and decommissioning phases of the project in Envigo / Scoping application based on Envigo database
of predefined impacts (and necessary impacts modifications and additions). All information on the impacts from Scoping application are copied and transferred to Envigo / Study and displayed to the user. The expert, on the other hand, still has the possibility to activate or deactivate some of the previously marked impacts, or to modify the impact phrase, although this is not recommended, as the impacts should already be properly defined in
Scoping phase and approved by the authority.

In the next step, for every impact selected in Scoping process, the EIA experts need to answer to eight simple questions – criteria, as illustrated in the figure on the left. These criteria, with the options – possible answers, are:

  • The nature of the impacts: a) negative, b) positive
  • 2. The intensity of the impact or the quantity:
    a) smaller b) greater
  • The sensitivity of the environment:
    a) smaller or not applicable, b) greater
  • Distribution: a) on site, b) locally,
    c) regionally or nationally, d) internationally
  • Duration: a) short term (temporary),
    b) long term (permanent)
  • Reversibility: a) reversible, b) irreversible
  • Cumulativity: a) noncumulative, b) cumulative
  • Interaction: a) none, b) weak, c) strong.

Each answer under criteria 2-8 comes with predefined numerical values – weighting factors (criterion 1 only defines the pre-sign – or +), which are then used in calculation, according to a simple matrix formula. The weighing factors and the formula are predefined by Envigo experts (and cannot be changed by users), and determined empirically and heuristically. The calculation provides a numerical score which falls in a certain range. Twelve ranges
(6 to -6) vary from drastically positive impact to drastically negative one. The range band is defined according to estimated sensitivity of the method. Simple explanations of the score values and very basic recommendations for necessary actions are offered to users, for their further interpretations and statements:

  • Score -1 – insignificant or slightly negative impact
  • Score -2 – negative impact
  • Score -3 – moderately negative impact
  • Score -4 – significant negative impact
  • Score -5 – major negative impact
  • Score -6 – drastically negative impact;
  • Score 1 – insignificant or slightly positive impact
  • Score 2 – positive impact
  • Score 3 – moderately positive impact
  • Score 4 – significant positive impact
  • Score 5 – major positive impact
  • Score 6 – drastically positive impact

The calculated environmental score of impact
with corresponding color is shown to user in the
impacts table, as illustrated in the figure on the right. Environmental scores obtained on the basis
of transparent methodology are introducing the objectivity into process of evaluation, and are also
very helpful to the experts a in the process of analysis.

Consideration of alternatives, defined in previous sections, is quite straightforward. In fact, all environmental scores from the main project are copied and assigned to each defined alternative, after which the user makes necessary adjustments of a base case in the questionnaire. User should reevaluate only those impacts where the change is likely to occur in case of implementation of proposed alternative, which is followed by automatic recalculation. For clarity, those environmental categories where the changes will occur are highlighted with a different color, based on users’ responses in section The description of
the alternatives
.

Environmental effects and impacts scoring method Envigo
Environmental impacts score graphical visualisation tools Envigo

The user in Envigo / Study application can analyze
the overall impact of the proposed project and/or alternatives, but also specific impacts on individual environmental categories using the diagrams, tables and statistical analysis. For example, one graph (or table) can present collectively all the impacts within one (or more) environmental category or all impacts within a project phase. Charts can show the sum of impacts of the desired category/phase, or proportional shares of impacts, obtained by normalization (by dividing each impact by total number of impacts). Envigo / Study application enables graphical comparison of the main project and the alternatives.

Tables can collect and display all impacts (a list of impacts or a list with selected evaluation criteria),
or a group of impacts that belong to environmental category and / or project phase that is analyzed. Impacts can be sorted in a table, after which there is an option to display just the most negative or the most positive environmental scores. Statistics are used to calculate the mean of environmental scores, the dispersion of environmental scores and the median of number of impacts for a observed category (or more), phase or the entire project/alternative.

The user can easily create graphics, tables and statistics using (floating) menu, where he or she selects appropriate options for creating it. An
example of how to use the graphics menu is
shown in the figure on the left.

Once graph or a table or statistic data is selected, they are inserted in the main application interface. User can add accompanying text, or title of graphics and tables. A detailed example of how one can arrange images, tables, statistic data and accompanying text is
given in the picture on the right:

The entire process of evaluation, graphics and tables creation, apart from contributing to the transparency and objectivity, can also be useful to experts in the process of defining mitigation measures, which is the next important step in the EIA Study. In the Study application, all following steps imply entering the text by user (EIA in case of accidents, monitoring and
non-technical summary).

As well as in the previous phases, the expert may
use additional templates (cover letter, supporting documentation upload, etc.). At the end of the procedure, the software creates a EIA Report in PDFformat. First, the user creates a preliminary PDF document, then, if needed, he or she can rearrange images, tables and text in order to obtain a satisfactory text formatting in the final PDFreport.
An example of EIA report design is shown in the
figure below:

Environmental effects evaluation histograms Envigo software
Environmental impact statement pdf report Envigo
In conclusion, Envigo helps the experts in the process of identifying potential impacts, as well as in the process of quantitative evaluation of impacts, which contributes to the transparency of the assessment and reduces significantly the time needed for conducting EIA. The software provides tools for powerful visualization of results, which supports analysis of results, in order to define appropriate mitigation measures. Besides, the user has flexibility, to change the structure of EIA Statement report. In the end, the entire EIA Study is printed as a clear, technically neat and graphically attractive PDF report.

Environmental Impact Assessment is a complex process of identifying, predicting, and evaluating all relevant impacts that some development proposals may have on the environment. This procedure aims to avoid or reduce negative effects on population and the environment that may occur during construction, operation and decommissioning phase of a project.

The evaluation process is performed by a qualified specialist, and it is mandatory for a wide range of economic activities. The procedure is regulated by law and regulations in almost all countries of the world, including Serbia. The legal framework in Serbia is unified, through national acts, on the basis of Directive 2011/92/EU.

EIA assessors are still facing challenges while conducting environmental impact assessments, due to complexity of multidisciplinary work, lack of time for detailed quantitative analysis and measurements, often a lack of objectivity and systematic approach, and lack of specialized computer tools to support the work of experts.

Eon+ strives to overcome some of the challenges in EIA, by creating Envigo – a web software for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Envigo system helps experts / assessors to conduct the EIA studies (or statements) more efficiently and objectively. Envigo main features and benefits are highlighted at the software dedicated site.
The software can be used for all investment proposals and existing projects for which EIA is mandatory, and this includes investments and activities in various economic sectors:

Envigo complies fully with law regulations and acts, covering all phases of the assessment procedure, consisting of:
Envigo software may be also used for monitoring the effects on the environment for existing projects, i.e. for subsequent evaluation and reduction of negative effects on the surrounding environment.
How Envigo works? Experts are expected to insert in Envigo software the information about the project, alternatives and environmental conditions. The software leads the user through the complete EIA procedure and offers professional textual help for filling contents, gathered from high quality and relevant literature, as well as from foreign and domestic best practices. Envigo contains a large database of potential impacts which are filtered by the economy sector. Therefore, only those impacts that might be relevant for a type of project, are displayed from the application database. The impact database effectively provides significant assistance to users in the process of identifying and predicting potential impacts for particular investment proposal.

In addition to this, Envigo software contains a matrix-scoring method for evaluating each individual impact, based on the expert’s answers to simple questions, (evaluation criteria) that are supplied to Envigo matrix formula. After impacts have been evaluated and grouped based on the obtained scores, Envigo software provides the possibility to create different images, diagrams, tables and statistics containing quantified impacts for the project and its alternatives. Thus, these results may be subjected to efficient and objective result analysis, in order to define appropriate mitigation measures to prevent, reduce and offset adverse effects. In the end of each phase, Envigo collects the entire content and creates high-quality reports, which fully complies with the legal framework, that can be submitted directly to competent authorities.
During the development of Envigo, special attention was paid to the user interface, which was designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, graphically clear, simplified and attractive. Eon+ pays special attention to the users of Envigo offering different means of courses, tutorials, technical support, etc. Visit our Support page and learn more about it.
Envigo is a user-friendly software, that provides significant assistance to environmental experts and facilitates their work by speeding up the assessment process, making it more objective, systematic and easily controllable. All of this significantly cuts costs to companies and individuals conducting EIA.
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