Do you know what an environmental consultant does? Environmental consulting requires a lot of training, research, a variety of skills, and regulatory expertise. Possessing this kind of expertise allows the consultant to work in public, private, and government sectors and organizations. Environmental consultants usually have environmental science as their primary subject as it provides the educational framework of an environmental consultant’s practical proficiency.
What is an environmental consultant?
Environmental consulting companies or environmental consultants offer a list of services addressing various environmental issues on a contractual basis to public and private sector organizations. Different consultants specialize in a different set of environmental issues. Some of the well-known services covered by these consultancies include environmental assessments or monitoring, environmental impact assessment (EIA), preparing environmental approvals applications, and environmental project management.
Functions of an environmental consultant
Depending on the functional area of the environmental consultant or the environmental project management company, their job includes:
- Evaluate the environmental importance of a specific area that is proposed for development. For instance, conservational or research areas need careful assessment.
- Predict the environmental impacts that could result from a proposed developmental project.
- Assist with the legal processes to obtain environmental approvals for a proposed development.
- Assist with the environmental approvals compliance by overseeing monitoring programs and obtaining reports.
Each of these services sounds brisk; but in reality, the tasks include several responsibilities and may take several months. Likewise, environmental assessments include investigation of environmental conditions in an area with regards to flora, fauna, waterways, heritage, contamination, and several other aspects. Every kind of project has a different environmental license, permit, and approval needs from a combination of statutory bodies at all levels of government. The type of management plan or monitoring program needed is dependent on the nature of the project. So, by now you can fathom that the combination of environmental consulting services that any organization requires can be vast.
Why does an organization need to approach environmental consultants?
An organization needs the services of an environmental consultant when the workload exceeds the workforce of the company. Approaching a third-party environmental project management organization may also help you to eliminate the risk of dealing with environmental assessments.
If you need to commence a development project, you need someone for impact assessment of the project. Hence, you are obligated to approach a legally qualified and experienced environmental consultant. While the environmental legislation is in effect, a minor fault can result in larger and potentially costly issues. You can face refusal of approvals, longer timelines for approvals, hefty fines, suspension of licenses, and earn a bad reputation. To prevent any such complications one needs to accurately determine project requirements.
Which type of environmental consultant should one choose?
The larger environmental project management firms usually take care of the full spectrum of environmental consultation services. The services include biological assessments, hydrology, contamination, noise, and air quality in addition to EIA, approvals, compliance processes, and environmental management.
While the smaller consultancies mostly specialize in one area of expertise. The brighter side is that some of them are considered specialists in their fields and thus they come highly recommended. So, if you need assistance in one particular area, it’s smarter to go for smaller consultancies.
Before selecting an environmental consultant, you, as a business owner should calculate the costs and benefits of all the consultancies available to you. While selecting, dig about the reputation, experience, and capability of the environmental project management firm. Beware, that the cost of revision of work, delays in the project may greatly exceed the costs of investing in a reputed environmental consultancy firm.
What are the signs of a good environmental consultant?
The best kind of environmental consultant will have adequate experience, commitment to quality, and follow environmental ethics. Note that in grand projects, one needs a firm that agreeably works in collaboration for ease. A capable environmental consultant should be able to integrate client vision while making progress in sustainable development.
An able and competent consultant should step outside their normal ways of doing business and need to go the extra mile to protect the environment. Top ranking firms should explore opportunities to avoid, mitigate and manage impacts in new ways. See that the environmental consulting organization you choose, have a sound understanding of the environmental assessment and approvals procedure.