Skip to main content
SLU:s publikationsdatabas (SLUpub)

Forskningsartikel2009Vetenskapligt granskad

Cumulative effects in Swedish EIA practice - difficulties and obstacles

Wärnbäck Antoienette, Hilding-Rydevik Tuija


The importance of considering cumulative effects (CE) in the context of environmental assessment is manifested in the EU regulations. The demands on the contents of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) documents explicitly ask for CE to be described. In Swedish environmental assessment documents CE are rarely described or included. The aim of this paper is to look into the reasons behind this fact in the Swedish context. The paper describes and analyse how actors implementing the EIA and SEA legislation in Sweden perceive the current situation in relation to the legislative demands and the inclusion of cumulative effects. Through semi-structured interviews the following questions have been explored: Is the phenomenon of CE discussed and included in the EIA/SEA process? What do the actors include in and what is their knowledge of the term and concept of CE? Which difficulties and obstacles do these actors experience and what possibilities for inclusion of CE do they see in the EIA/SEA process? A large number of obstacles and hindrances emerged from the interviews conducted. It can be concluded from the analysis that the will to act does seem to exist. A lack of knowledge in respect of how to include cumulative effects and a lack of clear regulations concerning how this should be done seem to be perceived as the main obstacles. The knowledge of the term and the phenomenon is furthermore quite narrow and not all encompassing. They experience that there is a lack of procedures in place. They also seem to lack knowledge of methods in relation to how to actually work, in practice, with CE and how to include CE in the EIA/SEA process. It can be stated that the existence of this poor picture in relation to practice concerning CE in the context of impact assessment mirrors the existing and so far rather vague demands in respect of the inclusion and assessment of CE in Swedish EIA and SEA legislation, regulations, guidelines and handbooks


Cumulative effects; EIA practice; Environmental Impact Assessment; EIA legislation; Sweden

Publicerad i

Environmental Impact Assessment Review
2009, Volym: 29, nummer: 2, sidor: 107-115