The study analyses the coverage of environmental impacts in EU impact assessments and aims to identify potential lessons for Germany and the European Union. The main focus of the study is the analysis of the way how environmental effects – qualitatively, quantitatively and in monetary terms – are taken into account in the EU impact assessment process, especially in comparison to economic and social impacts. The study is based on an in-depth review of 12 EU impact assessments of recent regulations with relevant environmental effects. Additionally, a small literature review and four expert interviews were conducted.
Overall, the formalisation of impact assessments (IAs) has improved in the last 15 years the way that environmental impacts are taken into account in the policy making process. However, significant challenges remain in the practical application of the concept that could provide important lessons. An important finding is the fact that not all environmental impacts are adequately considered in the decision making process of choosing the best option and that quantification and monetisation of some environmental impacts (eg. biodiversity) could be improved by investing in models and data to support the authors of impact assessment.