The role of environmental accidental risk assessment in the process of granting development consent

Risk Anal. 2009 Nov;29(11):1601-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01285.x. Epub 2009 Aug 28.


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a procedure that must be followed for certain types of development before they are granted development consent. The procedure requires the developer to compile an environmental impact report (EIR) describing the likely significant effects of the project on the environment. A regulatory requirement in Slovenia is that an accidental risk assessment for a new installation should be a part of an EIR. The article shows how risk assessment (RA) related to accidental release of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) or a polyvalent alcohol mixture from a new planned unit of a chemical factory in the Alpine region of Slovenia was performed in the framework of an EIA for the purpose of obtaining a construction permit. Two accidental scenarios were considered: (a) a spill of 20 m(3) of MDI or polyvalent alcohol mixture into the river Soca (the river runs close to the chemical factory) and (b) a fire in the warehouse storing the raw material, where emission of toxic gases HCN, NO(x), and CO is expected during combustion of MDI. One of the most important results of this case is the agreement among the developer, the competent authority, and a consultant in the field of EIA and RA to positively conclude the licensing process despite the absence of formal (regulatory) limit values for risk. It has been approved that transparent, reasonably uncertain, and semi-quantitative environmental risk assessment is an inevitable component of an EIA, and an essential factor in informed, licensing-related decision making.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Decision Making
  • Environment
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Geography
  • Industrial Waste / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Management
  • Slovenia


  • Industrial Waste