The paper examines how significance determinations are made in impact assessment. It uses a visual model, called the significance spectrum, to simply illustrate four basic steps for determining the significance of a predicted impact. The highlights the need to use evidence-driven subjective informed judgement, reflecting societal values, when weighing the acceptability of predicted impacts.
This paper won an international award of "Best Paper of 2015" for the Journal of Impact Assessment and Impact Appraisal. This was awarded by the International Association for Impact Assessment, the leading global authority on best practice in impact assessment.