Impact assessment in governments: literature review

This report reviews literature regarding five types of policy level impact assessments (environment, equity, health, regulatory, rural) in five countries (Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden & Wales). It was commissioned by the Scottish Government to inform their approach to impact assessment.


These references do not include legislation or guidance. Please refer to Appendix A and the main text for links to these.

Adelle, C. and S. Weiland (2012) Policy assessment: the state of the art. Impact Assessment and Policy Appraisal 30(1), 25-33.

Argyris, C. and D. Schön (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspectives. Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley.

Auditor General for Wales (2018) Reflecting on year one: How have public bodies responded to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015?

Balfors, B. et al. (2018) Strategic environmental assessment in Swedish municipal planning: Trends and challenges. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 73, 152-163.

Bekker, M.P.M. (2007) The politics of healthy policies: redesigning health impact assessment to integrate health in public policy. PhD thesis, Erasmus University Rotterdam.,%20Marleen%20Petra%20Maria.pdf.

Berensson, K. and P. Tillgren (2017) Health impact assessment (HIA) of political proposals at the local level: successful introduction, but what has happened 15 years later? Global Health Promotion 24(2) 43-51.

Bhatia, R. and A. Wernham (2008) Integrating human health into environmental impact assessment: An unrealized opportunity for environmental health and justice. Environmental Health Perspectives 116, 991-2000.

Bondemark, A. et al. (2020) Do impact assessments influence transport plans? The case of Sweden. Transportation Research Part A 134, 52-64.

Bonet, E. (2008) How to measure progress in combating discrimination and promoting equality? Final draft of country report on Sweden. BPI.

Bonifazi, A., et al. (2011) Strategic environmental assessment and the democratization of spatial planning. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management 13(1), 9-37.

CCRU (Central Community Relations Unit, Northern Ireland) (1999) Equality and equity report,

Collantes, V. et al. (2018) Moving towards a twin-agenda: Gender equality and land degradation neutrality, Environmental Science and Policy 89, 247-253.

Comer, J.C. and P.D, Skraastad-Jurney (2008) Assessing the locational equity of community parks through the application of Geographic Information Systems, Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 26(1), 122-146.

Conley, H. and M. Page (2010) The gender equality duty in local government: The prospect for integration. Industrial Law Journal 39(3), 321-325.

Dauvin, J-C. (2005) Expertise in coastal zone environmental impact assessment, Marine Pollution Bulletin 50, 107-110.

Davenport, C. et al. (2006) Use of health impact assessment in incorporating health considerations in decision making. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60, 196-201.

Den Broeder, L. et al. (2003) Soft data, hard effects. Strategies for effective policy on health impact assessment – an example from the Netherlands. Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 81(6), 404-407.

Dunlop, C.A. and C.M. Radaelli (2015) Impact assessment in the European Union: Lessons from a research project. European Journal of Risk Regulation, March.

Dunlop, C.A. et al. (2012) The many uses of regulatory impact assessment: A meta-analysis of EU and UK cases. Regulation & Governance 6, 23-45.

EC (European Commission) (2019) Study to support the REFIT evaluation of Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive),

Eckhardt, J. et al. (2018) MaaS in rural areas – case Finland. Research in Transportation Business & Management 27, 75-83.

EHESP (2016) Agir pour un urbanisme favorable a la sante. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sante Publique.

EOHSP (European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies) (2007) The effectiveness of health impact assessment: Scope and limitations of supporting decision-making in Europe.

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (Ireland) (2015) Report: Investigation into the assessment of health impacts within national environmental regulation processes.

EPA (Ireland) (2020) Second review of strategic environmental assessment effectiveness in Ireland. Report No. 306.

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (US) (1994) Executive Order 12898. Federal actions to address environmental justice in minority populations and low-income populations.

EPA (US) (2016) Promising practices for EJ methodologies in NEPA reviews.

Equality Coalition (2013) A fresh start for equality? The equality impacts of the Stormont House Agreement on the 'two main communities',

Erlandsson, M. (2008) Better regulation through impact assessment, ENBR Working Paper 18/2008,

European Commission (2019) The EU environmental implementation review 2019 country report – The Netherlands. Brussels.

Fehr, R. et al. (eds.) (2014) Health in impact assessment: Opportunities not to be missed.

Ferris, T. (2016) Regulatory Impact Analysis. The Public Professional 1, pp. 56-61

Ferris, T. (2017) Why bother with Regulatory Impact Assessment?

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales (2017) Well-being in Wales: Planning today for a better tomorrow. Learning from Well-being Assessments 2017.

Gonzalez, A. et al. (2019) Towards a better understanding of SEA effectiveness in Ireland. Impact Assessment and Policy Appraisal 37(3-4), 233-246.

Gonzalez, A. and R. Therivel (2020) Learning support mechanisms in SEA: a review of the potential to optimize outcomes, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, DOI:10.1080/14615517.2020.1830678.

Götzmann, N. et al. (2016) Social and human rights impact assessments: what can they learn from each other? Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 34(1), 14-23.

Gray, S. et al. (2011) The effectiveness of health appraisal processes currently in addressing health and wellbeing during spatial plan appraisal: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 11: 889.

Green, L. et al. (2020) Using health impact assessments to implement the sustainable development goals in practice: a case study in Wales. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 38(3), 214-224.

Haigh, F. et al. (2013) The effectiveness of health impact assessment in influencing decision-making in Australia and New Zealand 2005-2009, BMC Public Health 13.

Harris et al. (2013) The effectiveness of health impact assessment in New Zealand and Australia 2005-2009,

Harris-Roxas, B. et al. (2012) Health impact assessment: the state of the art. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 30(1), 43-52.

Helbig, N. et al. (2015) Stakeholder engagement in policy development: Observations and lessons from international experience. Ch. 9 in Janssen, M. et al., eds., Policy Practice and Digital Science: Integrating Complex Systems, Social Simulation and Public Administration in Policy Research, Springer, pp. 177-204.

Hertin, J. et al. (2009) Rationalising the policy mess? The role of ex ante policy assessment and the utilization of knowledge in the policy process. Environment and Planning A 41(5), 1185-1200.

Hess, D.J. and L.A. Satcher (2019) Conditions for successful environmental justice mobilizations: an analysis of 50 cases. Environmental Politics 28(4), 663-684.

Hilding-Rydevik, T. and A. Akerskog (2011) A clear case of 'doublespeak': the Swedish governmental SEA implementation discourse. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 54(4), 495-515.

Houghton, C. (2015) Underachievement of Māori and Pasifika learners and culturally responsive assessment. Journal of Initial Teacher Inquiry 1, 10-12.

Howard, N. (2019) Equality budgeting in Ireland,

Iglesias-Merchan, C. and Dominguez-Ares, E. (2020) Challenges to integrate health impact assessment into environmental assessment procedures: the pending debate. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 38(4), 299-307.

Jacob, K. et al. (2011) Integrating the environment in regulatory impact assessments.

Johnston, H. (2017) Poverty proofing – An evolutionary process towards poverty reduction. Administration 65(3), 123-139.

Johnston, H. and T. O'Brien (2000) Planning for a more inclusive society,

Kearns, N. and L. Pursell (2011) Time for a paradigm change? Tracing the institutionalisation of health impact assessments in the Republic of Ireland across health and environmental sectors. Health Policy 99, 91-96.

Knutsson, I. and A. Linell (2010) Health impact assessment developments in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 38, 115-120.

Konisky, D.B. and C. Reenock (2018) Regulatory enforcement, riskscapes, and environmental justice. Policy Studies Journal 46(1), 7-46.

Kumar, P. et al. (2013) Linking ecosystem services to strategic environmental assessment in development policies. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 40, 75-81.

Kupiec, T. (2015) Regulatory impact analysis practice in New Zealand in the light of models of evaluation use – Inspiration for the Polish government. Management and Business Administration: Central Europe 23(2), 109-128.

Lombardo, E. et al. (2017) Policymaking from a gender+ equality perspective. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 38(1), 1-19.

Maantay, J. (2002) Mapping environmental injustices: Pitfalls and potential of Geographic Information Systems in assessing environmental health and equity. Environmental Health Perspectives 110 (suppl 2), 161-171.

Mahoney, M. and R.K. Morgan (2001) Health impact assessment in Australian and New Zealand: an exploration of methodological concerns. IUHPE – Promotion & Education VIII(1), 8-11.

Martens, K. (2017) Transport justice: Designing fair transportation systems. New York: Routledge.

Martens, K. (2020) How just is transportation justice theory? The issues of paternalism and production: A comment, Transportation Research Part A 133, 383-386.

McAndrews, C. and E. Deakin (2020) Public health sector influence in transportation decision-making: The case of health impact assessment. Case Studies on Transport Policy 8, 1116-1125.

McEachrane, M. (2018) Universal human rights and the coloniality of race in Sweden. Human Rights Review 19, 471-493.

McGimpsey, P. and R.K. Morgan (2013) The application of strategic environmental assessment in a non-mandatory context: Regional transport planning in New Zealand. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 43, 56-64.

Mindell, J. et al. (2010) Institutionalizing health impact assessment in London as a public health tool for increasing synergy between policies in other areas. Public Health 124, 107-114.

Ministry for the Environment (New Zealand) First national climate change risk assessment for New Zealand, .

Molnar, A. et al. (2016) Using win-win strategies to implement Health in All Policies: A cross-case analysis. PLoS ONE 11(2).

Monteiro, M.B. et al. (2018) A comparative analysis on how different governance contexts may influence Strategic Environmental Assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 72, 79-87.

Morelli, C. and P. Seaman (2007) Devolution and inequality: a failure to create a community of equals? Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 32, 523-538.

Morgan, R.K. (2008) Institutionalising health impact assessment: the New Zealand experience. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 26(1), 2-16.

Morrison-Saunders, A. et al. (2014) Strengthening impact assessment: a call for integration and focus, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 32(1), 2-8.

Morrison-Saunders, A. et al. (2020) Gearing up impact assessment as a vehicle for achieving the UN sustainable development goals. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 38(2), 113-117.

Morrison-Saunders, A. and R. Therivel (2006) Sustainability integration and assessment. Environmental Assessment Policy and Management 8(3), 281-298.

National Women's Council of Ireland (2017) Towards gender responsive budgeting in Ireland.

Nerhagen, L. and S. Forsstedt (2016) Regulating transport: the possible role of regulatory impact assessment in Swedish transport planning. Draft discussion paper prepared for the Roundtable on assessing regulatory changes in the transport sector, 6-7 October, Stockholm.

Nykvist, B. and M. Nilsson (2009) Are impact assessment procedures actually promoting sustainable development? Institutional perspectives on barriers and opportunities found in the Swedish committee system. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 29, 15-24.

OECD (2020) Ex ante regulatory impact assessment: Netherlands. OECD, Paris.

OECD (2019) OECD Scan: Equality budgeting in Ireland. Public Governance Directorate.

OECD (2015) OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015: Country profile Sweden,

OECD (2012) Sustainable development: Sustainability in impact assessments. A review of impact assessment systems in selected OECD countries and the European Commission,

OECD (2011) Integrating the environment in regulatory impact assessments.

OECD (2009) OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Regulatory Impact Analysis,

Office of Social Inclusion, Ireland (2006) Review of poverty proofing, .

O'Mullane, M. and A. Quinlivan (2012) Health impact assessment (HIA) in Ireland and the role of local government. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 32, 181-186.

Osborne, R. et al. (1999) The implementation of the Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment Guidelines in Northern Ireland, .

Owens, S. et al. (2004) New agendas for appraisal: reflections on theory, practice and research. Environment and Planning A 36, 1943-1959.

Partidario, M.R. and R.C. Gomes (2013) Ecosystem inclusive strategic environmental assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 40, 36-46.

Pinto, A.D. et al. (2015) Economic considerations and health in all policies initiatives: evidence from interviews with key informants in Sweden, Quebec and South Australia. BMC Public Health 15.

Radaelli, C.M. (2005) Diffusion without convergence: how political context shapes the adoption of regulatory impact assessment. Journal of European Public Policy 12(5), 924-943.

Radaelli, C.M. (2009a) Measuring policy learning: regulatory impact assessment in Europe. Journal of European Public Policy 16(8), 1145-1164.

Radaelli, C.M. (2009b) Desperately seeing regulatory impact assessments. Evaluation 15(1); 31-48.

Roggeband, C. and M. Verloo (2006) Evaluating gender impact assessment in the Netherlands (1994-2004): a political process approach. Policy & Politics 34(4), 615-632.

Roué Le Gall A. et al. (2018) Lessons learned from co-constructing a guide on healthy urban planning and on integrating health issues into environmental impact assessments conducted on French urban development projects. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 36(1), 68-80.

Rural Community Policy Unit (2014) Rural proofing impact assessment review.

Sadler, B., ed. (1995) Strategic environmental assessment at the policy level. Ministry of the Environment, Czech Republic.

Shaider, L.A. et al. (2019) Environmental justice and drinking water quality: are there socioeconomic disparities in nitrate levels in U.S. drinking water? Environmental Health 18(3).

Sherry, E. and S. Shortall (2019) Methodological fallacies and perceptions of rural disparity: How rural proofing addresses real versus abstract needs. Journal of Rural Studies 68, 336-343.

Social Justice Ireland (2020) Rural Ireland and the impact of Covid-19.

TASC (Think-tank for Action on Social Change) (2017) Cherishing all equally: Economic inequality in Ireland.

Therivel, R. and A. Gonzalez (2019) Introducing SEA effectiveness. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 37(3-4), 181-187.

Therivel, R. and A. Gonzalez (2020) Is SEA worth it? Short-term costs v. long-term benefits of strategic environmental assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 83.

Turnpenny, J. et al. (2008) Why is integrating policy assessment so hard? A comparative analysis of the institutional capacities and constraints. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51(6), 759-775.

Van Buuren, A. and S. Nooteboom (2009) Evaluating strategic environmental assessment in The Netherlands: content, process and procedure as indissoluble criteria for effectiveness. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 27(2), 145-154.

Van der Sluijs, J. (no date) Regulatory impact assessment – the Swedish example. Stockholm Faculty of Law Research Paper Series No. 6. .

Van Dreumel, M. (2005) Netherlands' experience with the environmental test, Ch. 8 in Sadler, B., ed. (1995) Strategic environmental assessment and the policy level. Ministry of the Environment, Czech Republic.

Vanoutrive, T. and E. Cooper (2019) How just is transportation justice theory? The issues of paternalism and production, Transportation Research Part A 122, 112-119.

Verloo, M. (2007) Assessing a former pioneer of gender equality: lessons from the Netherlands.

Walpita, Y.N. and L. Green (2020) Health impact assessment (HIA): Comparative case study of Sri Lanka and Wales: What can a developing country learn from the Welsh HIA system? International Journal of Health Services 0(0), 1-9.

Ward, M. (2006) Health impact assessment in New Zealand: Experience at a policy level,

Webber, F. (2013) Dismantling racial justice, Race & Class 54(4), 43-47.

White House (2020) Remarks by President Trump on proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations,

WHO (World Health Organisation) (2018) The integration of health into environmental assessments,

Wright, D. and M. Friedewald (2013) Integrating privacy and ethical impact
assessments. Science and Public Policy 40, 755-766.

Wright, D. and M. Friedewald (2013) Integrating privacy and ethical impact assessments. Science and Public Policy 40, 755-766.



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