Heritage properties are the bridge between the past of a state and its future. If not closely monitored and assessed, the continuing rapid urban development is likely to choke the existence of these heritage properties. Heritage Impact Assessment, when effectively carried out, helps to reduce friction between urban development policies and heritage conservation.

Just like Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are carried out to preserve the sustainability of the environment after execution of a project, likewise a Heritage Impact Assessment is carried out to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value of a Heritage property when directly involved in a development plan.

Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) is an assessment tool is used to identify and analyze impacts of human activities on a state’s heritage properties by maintaining a balance between heritage protection and urban development for sustainability. Therefore, all parties involved in the HIA process must have a good understanding of the Heritage property, its significance and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), its attributes and its context.

Objectives of carrying out an HIA

  • To identify and protect heritage properties by maintaining their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
  • The strengthen the management and governance of World Heritage properties.
  • To reduce the possible dangers associated with Heritage properties
  • To make sure development or change does not impact negatively on the outstanding universal value, integrity and/or authenticity of the property.

Heritage Impact Assessment Process

An effective Heritage Impact Assessment depends on information obtained from the search as it will aid in the decision agreed upon by all the involved and concerned parties. It is important that early and continued consultations with all relevant parties concerning the scope and expectations of the HIA be carried out before the proposed work or development plan is implemented. These consultations help to identify any expected negative impacts early so as to inform both the development design and the planning process.

The scoping report should make it clear what is to be done, why and how, when and what are the expected output. Below are important questions to guide you during a Heritage assessment:

  • What is the heritage at risk and why is it important (It’s OUV)?
  • How will the development proposal impact its OUV?
  • How can these effects be avoided, reduced, rehabilitated or compensated?
Stages of Heritage Impact

Stages of Heritage Impact Assessment Process

  • Initial development plan
  • Early consultation from all concerned authorities
  • Identification and recruiting of suitable organizations to undertake works
  • Establishment of the study area and scope area
  • Collect and collate data as per the development plan
  • Characterize the heritage resource by identifying the attributes that convey its OUV
  • Modelling and assessment of both direct and indirect impacts of development plan
  • Draft proposed mitigation measures (avoid, reduce, rehabilitate, compensate)
  • Moderation of the assessment results and mitigation measures.
  • Final reporting and illustration to guide in decision making
  • Mitigation/ Implementation of development plan if approved

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