Course #15: Health in Environmental Impact Assessment





The amended European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU) requires the explicit consideration of impacts on “human health.” These changes are relevant to all European Member States and they have an influence beyond EU borders, for example, through the policies of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

The purpose of the course is to elaborate on the implications of having to consider “human health” comprehensively in EIA. While bio-physical (including chemical) aspects of relevance for human health have traditionally been included in EIA, other important determinants of health, including socio-economic factors, mental health and well-being and behavioral aspects have frequently remained unaddressed. The portrayal of current practices and necessary changes to reflect new EIA requirements is the main purpose of the course.

We will address the following questions:

  • What does the consideration of human health in EIA mean?
  • What is current practice?
  • How can a robust and proportionate approach be applied to appropriately consider health in EIA?
Participants will critically examine existing EIA practices with regards to the consideration of health. Furthermore, they will develop skills needed to comprehensively assess health in EIA.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Prerequisites: None
Language: English
Duration: 1 day (25 May)
Price: US$335
Min/Max: 10-30

Thomas Fischer, University of Liverpool, Environmental Assessment and Management Research Centre, WHO Collaborating Centre for Health in Impact Assessments, School of Environmental Sciences (UK)

Ben Cave, Ben Cave Associates Ltd and University of Liverpool (UK)

Mirko Winkler, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Swiss TPH (Switzerland)

Astrid Knoblauch, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Swiss TPH (Switzerland)

Julia Nowacki, WHO Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health (Germany)


Thomas B Fischer is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK, and Director of the associated Environmental Assessment and Management Research Centre, as well as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health in Impact Assessments. He is also an extraordinary Professor of North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa, and an honorary staff member of the Berlin Institute of Technology, Germany.

Thomas’ specialist areas revolve around ex-ante impact assessment tools in spatial, transport, energy, waste and other sectoral policy, plan, program and project decision making, and in particular, environmental assessment (EA, both, EIA and SEA) and health in impact assessments. He has worked in consultancy, public administration and academia for nearly 30 years and has widely published on EA globally with over 85 papers in refereed academic journals, several books, numerous book chapters and monographs on the topic.

Thomas is editor-in-chief of IAIA’s Journal Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. Furthermore, he has been a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (FIEMA) since 2012 and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2016. He was a Professional Member of the ‘NHS National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Public Health Programme Development Group for NICE guidance on Spatial Planning’ and is currently chair of the Ireland-UK branch of the IAIA. Thomas is a member of IEMA’s EIA quality mark expert review team and has extensive teaching and training experience, which spans over 20 years.


Ben Cave has specialized in health and environmental assessment for the last 20 years. He has worked across the UK, in mainland Europe and further afield with policy makers, public health academics, environment scientists and spatial planners. He provides public health and policy advice at a senior level in the local, regional, national and international arena.

Ben integrates health into environmental assessment (EA; EIA & ESIA) at the project level; He leads HIAs in conjunction with EAs and focuses on providing high-quality HIAs that are robust and defensible. He has led HIAs in a wide range of sectors, for example, infrastructure for energy, mining, road and rail. He is preparing guidance on health in EIA with the World Health Organization and health in SEA with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the European Investment Bank.

Ben is committed to improving standards and quality in the field of impact assessment, and is President-Elect of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). In 2009, he led research for, and development of, a review package for HIA reports with input from an expert panel of reviewers. He convened seminars on quality in impact assessment at the 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 annual meetings of the IAIA. His work contributes to national and international developments in impact assessment.


Mirko Winkler is the Head of the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Research Group at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). His current research activities have two foci. One is on HIA of large infrastructure development projects in low- and middle-income countries, particularly extractive industries, renewable energy projects and water resources developments (e.g. http://www.swisstph.ch/hia4sd). The other is on microbial and chemical risk assessment in the context of agriculture, sanitation planning and urbanisation (e.g. http://www.swisstph.ch/pestrop).


Astrid Knoblauch is a trained epidemiologist (PhD) from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Basel, Switzerland. For 10 years, her work has focused on HIA of large-scale infrastructure projects in Africa. For the last two years, she has been based in Antananarivo, Madagascar, working in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar and the National Tuberculosis Control Programme on tuberculosis research and control activities in Madagascar. Many of them are currently ongoing and include MDR-TB surveillance, MDR-TB national survey, whole-genome sequencing, molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis, latent tuberculosis and social network analysis in remote Madagascar. She has several years of national and international experience as a public health consultant including mandates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) and the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.


Julia Nowacki is trained as an expert in Adult Education, M.Ed., from the University of Cologne, and in Public Health, MPH and DrPH, from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Since 2008, she has been working at the European Centre for Environment and Health of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, first in Rome, Italy, and since 2011 in Bonn, Germany. Her work focuses on the development and implementation of health impact assessment (HIA), the integration of health into environmental assessments like EIA and SEA through the development of policy advice, as well as different capacity building and networking activities. Before WHO, she worked as a knowledge manager and audit assistant in the public sector department of KPMG, Cologne, Germany, an international Audit and Consultant company.

She has been a member of IAIA’s health section since 2008, and has organized diverse workshops with HIA experts at various IAIA annual meetings.