Dr Bridget Durning


Reader in Environmental Assessment & Management

School of the Built Environment


Dr Bridget Durning is an academic, sustainability and impact assessment specialist. She is Reader in Environmental Assessment and Management and also leads the Impacts Assessment Unit (IAU) (part of the Smart Construction and Impact Assessment research group). The IAU undertakes funded research and consultancy projects addressing environmental and social impacts appraisal (EIA) in the delivery of infrastructure and/or change of land use.

Bridget is Subject Lead for the Masters in Environmental Impact Assessment and Management (MSc EIAM). She delivers continuing professional development (CPD) short courses in impact assessment to practitioners and decision makers. Bridget also teaches on the undergraduate Planning and Geography programmes.

Bridget sits on the Steering Committee for Oxford Brookes University’s Sustainable and Resilient Futures (S&RF) Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange Network.  

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

I am module leader for the following modules:

  • Effective and Proportionate Environmental Impact Assessment (Masters level)
  • Environmental and Social Risk Management: New Frontiers of Decision Making (Masters level)
  • Sustainable Development and Professional Practice (undergraduate)
  • Sustainability and Development (undergraduate)


I have supervised and supported PhD students to completion and also externally examined PhDs.  I regularly supervise MSc dissertation students in the fields of environmental planning and environmental and social impact assessment. 

I am open to being contacted by potential PhD candidates who are interested in undertaking research into evaluating ex ante impacts assessment practice particularly relating to:

  • Practice in the assessment of cumulative effects for the delivery of major infrastructure;
  • Post project evaluation of the accuracy of methods used in ex ante impact predictions;
  • The effectiveness of impact management tools and processes implemented in the delivery of infrastructure/change of land-use.


My research focuses on the practice of Impacts Assessment (IA) in the planning and consenting of sustainable development, particularly infrastructure development.  I have been undertaking research into this area of practice, and the skills and knowledge development of the practitioners involved, for a number of years. My interests within IA are situated in post-project evaluation, encompassing three aspects of IA:

  • accuracy of predicted impacts;
  • practice in the assessment of impacts;
  • the effectiveness of impact management tools and processes. 

A particular area of research interest that I have been exploring for a number of years is in the challenging practice of ex ante cumulative effects assessment, particularly in the delivery of offshore renewable energy infrastructure. 

Research Grants and Awards

Since joining Oxford Brookes University I have obtained in excess of £440,000 of external income from research and knowledge exchange activities (consultancy and bespoke CPD).  Funders/clients include local government, UK government, government agencies, private sector, research councils and Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) Research Programme.

Example of externally funded research:

Mini review of current practice in the assessment of cumulative environmental effects of UK offshore renewable energy developments when carried out to aid decision making in a regulatory context. Funded by NERC

Socio-economic impact of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) - The Effect of Offshore Wind on the Human Environment’. Funded by Vattenfall (Aberdeen Offshore Wind Limited) through their European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) Research Programme




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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Member of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA)
  • Member of the National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA)
  • Chartered Geologist and Fellow of the Geological Society of London
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


I regularly attend the annual international conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).