An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) can be defined as “an environmental management tool used to ensure that undue or reasonably avoidable adverse impacts of the construction, operation and decommissioning of a project are prevented; and that the positive benefits of the projects are enhanced”. EMPs are therefore important tools for ensuring that the management actions arising from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes are clearly defined and implemented through all phases of the project life-cycle.
Environmental management plans describe how an action might impact on the natural environment in which it occurs and set out clear commitments from the person taking the action on how those impacts will be avoided, minimized and managed so that they are environmentally acceptable.
An EMS follows a Plan-Do-Check-Act, or PDCA, Cycle. The diagram shows the process of first developing an environmental policy, planning the EMS, and then implementing it. The process also includes checking the system and acting on it. The model is continuous because an EMS is a process of continual improvement in which an organization is constantly reviewing and revising the system.
The EMP is to provide
A practical framework for establishing best practice environmental management standards and guidelines to mitigate potential environmental harm for each activity undertaken
- A mechanism to assist managers, supervisors and construction crews to comply with current legislation.
- A means of identifying environmental issues and to provide general procedures which must be considered when undertaking construction activities
- A mechanism to reduce the potential impacts of the construction and operation of the facility
- A basis for establishing environmental due diligence during the construction and operational phases.
In essence, the EMP is to provide to contractors with a practical guide to measure compliance by all parties with the environmental requirements. The EMP achieves this by providing a framework for comprehensive monitoring and control of construction and operation of the facility. The aim is to minimize the potential for negative environmental impact.