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Sci Total Environ. 2006 May 1;360(1-3):233-45. Epub 2005 Oct 20.

The role of web-based environmental information in urban planning--the environmental information system for planners.

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British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK.


The Environmental Information System for Planners (EISP) is a proof of concept web-based system designed to support decision making within the UK planning framework by making information on environmental issues more widely accessible. It incorporates relevant outputs from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Urban Regeneration and the Environment (URGENT) research programme and from research directly commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). It supports three principal planning functions carried out by local authorities: pre-planning enquiries, development control decisions and strategic planning. Eleven environmental science themes are incorporated: Air quality, Shallow undermining, Landslide susceptibility, Groundwater protection, Flood risk, Drainage, Land contamination, Proximity to landfill, Biodiversity, Natural and Man-made heritage. Decision flow diagrams represent detailed analysis of workflow in each theme, taking account of best practice, regulatory responsibilities and planning guidance. Industry-standard web technologies integrate the flows and provide access to the system via secure web pages. Underpinning the system is an environmental geographical information system (GIS) containing up-to-date data, information and models relevant to each theme. The modular system design allows new legislation and local priorities and datasets to be easily incorporated. Web technology delivers information and research data that have hitherto been difficult for the non-specialist to access and have therefore been under-exploited. The study has demonstrated a successful application of the principles of e-Governance in an area where informed decisions commonly require specialist information. The system, if rolled out nationally, offers potential economic benefits and efficiency savings for both planners and developers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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