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June 25, 2015

Risk Assessment Guidance Book

The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) is an informal network of the environmental authorities of EU member states, acceding and candidate countries, and Norway. The European Commission is also a member of IMPEL and shares the task of chairing its plenary meetings. The network’s objective is to create the necessary impetus in the European Community to make progress on ensuring the more effective application of environmental legislation.

Under the project "easyTools", a team led by Germany collected information on the risk assessments that are used across Europe. Based on this information a new rule-based methodology was developed and tested, called the integrated risk assessment method (IRAM). This guide book describes the methodology, which is based on the following principles: 1. Inspection frequency is determined by the value of the highest score; 2. Inspection frequency is reduced by one step if the set minimum number of highest scores (“the rule”) is not met; 3. Inspection frequency can be changed by only one step, up or down, based on operator performance; 4. The higher the sum of the scores, the longer the inspection time.

The risk score for each impact criterion is directly related to the final risk category and therefore to inspection frequency. All environmental aspects with a high score should receive the necessary attention. The risk itself is defined by impact criteria and operator performance criteria. These represent the effect and the probability. The methodology comes with many steering mechanisms, one of which is the minimum number of highest scores, call “the rule” (see point 2 above). When setting the mechanism on 2, for example, you will need at least two criteria (environmental aspects) with the same high score to keep this level of impact/attention. Other steering mechanisms are weighting terms for impact criteria and weighting factors for operator performance criteria and inspection profile; the risk ceiling; and a so-called safety net.