CEP and Brussels-based MILIEU renew their commitment to collaborate


CEP and Milieu - a multi-disciplinary consultancy based in Brussels specialising in providing high quality legal and policy services primarily for public sector clients - have been collaborating for more than 14 years.  In acknowledgement of our longstanding working relationship and successful collaborations, we are delighted to announce that we have renewed our Memorandum of Understanding which covers our mutual commitment to collaborate where appropriate in the provision of environmental consultancy services and to share expertise, knowledge and resources.

CEP and Milieu have been working together since 2005.  During this period we have jointly delivered some exciting, innovative and influential projects for both the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA).  This work includes projects related to: policy evaluation and impact assessment; SEA; state of the environment reporting; environmental futures assessment; climate proofing policy; water management; science-policy interface; and environmental governance.

Ric Eales, CEP’s Managing Director, commented:

We enjoy excellent relationships with many partners in the UK and across Europe, but our relationship with Milieu has been particularly rewarding and successful over the last 14 years.  Over this time we have worked together on numerous projects particularly for European institutions and the success of these collaborations is to a great extent down to our shared culture and commitment to delivering quality services to our clients.  We look forward to our relationship with Milieu continuing to grow and strengthen in the years to come”.

This agreement highlights CEP’s continuing commitment to service our European institution clients, such as the European Commission and European Environment Agency (EEA).  Our ongoing work for European institutions includes projects on important topics, such as urban sustainability, emerging environmental risks and foresight, improving access to environmental information and justice, and the effectiveness and implementation of environmental regulations.


For more information contacts Ric Eales (Managing Director)

European Commission publishes report on implementation of WFD and the Floods Directive

European Commission publishes new report on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Floods Directive, which includes research input from CEP.

The overall assessment was led by WRc and CEP were part of the team assessing the first round of implementation of the Floods Directive (FD), coordinated by Milieu. The full report was published by the Commission last week.

The report provides an overview of the first Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) produced by EU Member States and reported to the European Commission under the FD. The report focuses on progress so far and is accompanied by a series of Commission Staff Working Documents with both EU overviews and individual Member State assessments.

The FD, introduced in 2007 in response to the large floods across Europe in 2002 sets a framework for reducing risk of flood damage. The growing uncertainties surrounding flood risk management require continuous monitoring and adjustment of practices to ensure the lowest possible damages.

For more information please contact Paula Orr (Technical Director).

CEP investigating EU Environmental Implementation Portal


CEP, in conjunction with project partners Bilbomática and Wood Consulting, are undertaking a Feasibility study on the Development and maintenance of an EU Environmental Implementation Portal, under a framework contract led of Milieu Ltd for the Directorate-General (DG) Environment of the European Commission.  

The aim of the project is to examine how a multi-purpose Environmental Implementation Portal (EIP) can be designed as a ‘one stop shop’, to facilitate quick access to the services of information/data that meet the needs of a wide range of users.  The key focus of the portal will be to provide information related to the areas and pieces of environmental legislation under the responsibility of DG Environment (for example air quality, biodiversity, and water legislation), but it could also include information such as environmental data, indicators, and reports. A wide range of users are expected, including policy-makers, NGOs, and academics.

CEP are leading the first two tasks of the project, which seek to identify and analyse different users, their needs and interests, and existing good practice of similar information portals. This will be supported through a mixed-methods approach including user mapping, analysis, desk-based research, and primary data collection through surveys and interviews with stakeholder groups. 

For more information on the project, please contact Ric Eales (Managing Director) or Paula Orr (Technical Director).      

CEP supporting Evaluation of SEA Directive


As part of the Study to support the REFIT evaluation of Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive) CEP will support the project lead, Milieu Ltd, in delivering a workshop for the European Commission on evaluation of the SEA Directive.

The purpose of the workshop is to present and discuss the emerging findings of the SEA REFIT study with the members of the panel and a wide professional audience including participants from EU member states environmental and other authorities and institutions, European Commission, NGOs, companies and industry associations, practice and academia.

The workshop will be held in Brussels on 6th December.

For more information contact Dr Bill Sheate (Technical Director) or Spela Kolaric (Senior Consultant).      

CEP to run EU foresight system on emerging environmental issues

CEP to provide the secretariat for new EU foresight system to detect emerging environmental issues (FORENV)

CEP has been commissioned by the European Commission DG Environment to run a new EU foresight system to detect emerging environmental issues. Named FORENV, the project aims to ‘improve the understanding of policy-makers of emerging environmental issues by supporting yearly cycles of the system set up by the Environment Knowledge Community (EKC) for the identification of emerging environmental issues and related risks and opportunities (FORENV)’.

CEP will be working, initially over the course of the next 12 months, with colleagues from Milieu (Belgium), Cranfield University (UK), the German Federal Environment Agency and Vision Communication (Spain) to:

  • Conduct a broad scanning to compile and characterise at least 100 weak signals of emerging issues for Europe’s environment.

  • Through a participatory sense-making exercise, identify ten emerging environmental issues, including related risks and opportunities on the basis of a broad range of sources and expertise.

  • Characterise the identified emerging issues and define related risks and opportunities for the environment, through recent scientific literature and expert involvement.

  • Inform policy-makers, stakeholders and the public on the identified emerging issues through appropriate reporting and communications.

The project follows on from an earlier project undertaken by CEP and Milieu to develop a participatory methodological framework for the systematic identification of emerging issues for the environment (and environmental policies). This project will put that methodology into practice.  Subject to the first year the contract will be renewable for up to a further three times (to 48 months) to continue the detection of new emerging issues that could impact the environment and environmental policies, in order to allow the European Commission to put in place appropriate responses where necessary.

For further information please contact Owen White (Technical Director) or Paula Orr (Technical Director).

CEP at European Foresight meeting

CEP’s Owen White and Rolands Sadauskis invited by the European Environment Agency to participate in European meeting of foresight experts

CEP have a track record of delivering projects related to global megatrends and their implications for Europe and European countries, including for example developing a methodology for understanding implications of global megatrends at the national level; and adapting and applying the methodology in a case study of global megatrend implications in the Western Balkans region.  CEP are also leading the current framework contract with the European Environment Agency (EEA) on forward-looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions

In the context of this previous work and the framework contract, CEP’s Owen White and Rolands Sadauskis have been invited to participate in, present at and lead a working session for the EIONET (European Environment Information and Observation Network) expert meeting for the network of European experts in forward-looking information and services (NRC FLIS) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on 16th – 17th May 2018.

Specifically Owen and Rolands will be presenting proposals for a pending project on identifying and exploring key drivers of change in European socio-technical systems (food, energy, mobility) and what the implications of these drivers of change may be for the systems and Europe’s environment.  In addition a working session will be designed and facilitated by Owen and Rolands which will engage the experts in discussing key methodological challenges and identifying solutions.

For more information please contact Owen White (Technical Director) or Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant).

CEP ran workshop on environmental risks and opportunities


CEP led an expert workshop in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 11th April 2018, as part of the project Influence of global megatrends on the state of environment in Slovenia.  This is the second workshop under this project for the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, and the Slovenian Environment Agency.  This project is being delivered by CEP and is adapting and implementing a method toolkit previously developed (by CEP) for the European Environment Agency.

The workshop brought together 21 experts to identify risks and opportunities for the state of the environment in Slovenia from the global megatrend (GMT) implications prioritised in the scoping workshop held in November 2017.  The risks and opportunities focused on implications from two GMTs: GMT 7 (intensified global competition for resources), and GMT 9 (increasingly severe consequences of climate change) as analysed by the European Environment Agency in their European Environment State and Outlook Report (SOER) 2015.  Through a participatory workshop experts assessed the risks and opportunities in terms of the likelihood of their occurrence, the magnitude of their effect and the timescale over which they may occur. Response needs and gaps to address risks and maximise opportunities were also discussed.

Please contact Rolands Sadauskis (Project Manager) for further information on the project. CEP's Owen White is the Project Director.


CEP explores links between global megatrends and planetary boundaries

CEP commissionED to explore relationships between global megatrends and planetary boundaries

CEP has been commissioned to lead the third Specific Contract, let under the CEP-led framework service contract for the European Environment Agency (EEA), to provide Assistance to the analysis of planetary boundaries at the European level, in support of SOER 2020.  CEP is also leading a specific task in this project to explore and map the relationships between global megatrends affecting Europe and planetary boundaries.  This specific task is linked to other tasks being led by GRID/University of Geneva (downscaling of the planetary boundaries to Europe) and SEI Stockholm/PBL looking at the interactions among planetary boundaries and the relationship with existing EU environmental policy measures.  

The CEP task draws on previous work by CEP on GMTs at the national and regional level in Europe, and on planetary boundaries and tipping points, as well as the inter-linkages among the planetary boundaries being examined by SEI/PBL.  This third contract provides an opportunity to bring together a number of key forward looking analyses undertaken by the EEA in support of SOER2020.

For more information on this project please contact Dr Bill Sheate or Rolands Sadauskis.  

CEP's Owen White is the overall Framework Contract Manager and can provide general information on the framework.  CEP's Dr Bill Sheate is the Framework Contract Director.

CEP explore global megatrends in Slovenia


CEP has been commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and Slovenian Environment Agency to undertake a study to understand the implications of global megatrends (GMTs) on the state of the environment in Slovenia.

The study will involve adapting and implementing a methodology and toolkit previously developed by CEP on understanding the impacts of global megatrends at the national level. This work will particularly consider the implications of two specific GMTs identified by the European Environment Agency in their assessment of global megatrends published in 2015: Intensified global competition for resources (GMT 7); and Increasingly severe consequences of climate change (GMT 9).

CEP's work will involve undertaking desk-based research and assessment of how these two GMT’s might impact the national environmental priorities and efforts to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals, focussing in particular on the aims of the Slovenia National Environment Action Programme and Slovenian Development Strategy.  As part of this study CEP will organise and facilitate two national expert workshops to discuss potential GMT impacts and assess risks and opportunities for the environment and environmental policy in Slovenia.

The project will run from September 2017 until September 2018.

For further information contact Owen White (Project Director) or Rolands Sadauskis (Project Manager). 

* For more information on megatrends see here


CEP to present at European foresight meeting

CEP’s Owen White invited by the European Environment Agency to present recent work on global megatrends at European meeting of foresight experts

CEP have recently been delivering a number of projects related to global megatrends and their implications for Europe and European countries, including developing a methodology for understanding implications of global megatrends at the national level; and adapting and applying the methodology in a case study of global megatrend implications in the Western Balkans region.

In the context of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) own work on global megatrends, and CEP having recently been awarded a framework contract by the EEA to provide expert assistance on forward looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions, CEP’s Owen White has been invited to participate in and present at the EIONET (European Environment Information and Observation Network) annual meeting for the network of European experts in forward-looking information and services (NRC FLIS) to be held in Bratislava, Slovakia on 27th – 28th September 2017

Specifically, Owen will be presenting the outcomes to date from the Western Balkans global megatrends study, and participating in discussions related to how the EEA can develop an improved understanding of the implications of global megatrends for Europe and European countries.

For more information please contact Owen White (Principal Consultant).

Learning lessons for evaluating complexity across the nexus

CECAN (the Centre for Evaluation of Complexity across the Nexus, based at the University of Surrey, has published the final report of CEP's meta-evaluation study of 23 selected evaluation projects we have undertaken relating to Nexus issues – water, environment, food, energy - over the last 10 years.  

The full report  - Learning lessons for evaluating complexity across the nexus: a meta-evaluation of CEP projects - is available here.

We evaluated the evaluation approaches and findings from a range of case studies – national and EU policy level down to programme level policy interventions and other initiatives – and sought to address three aims:
1.    To learn the lessons from past policy evaluations; 
2.    To understand the factors that support or inhibit (barriers or enablers to) successful evaluations: and
3.    To explore the value of different types of approaches and methods used for evaluating complexity

An important finding was the extent to which the contexts for evaluations at the EU level and UK levels differ: a very strong policy cycle exists for EU evaluations, which creates a more rigid framework for monitoring and evaluation, compared to the much greater degree of policy flux in the UK, and the resulting need for greater flexibility in the way in which evaluations are undertaken, and hence the greater utility of qualitative data collection and analysis methods.

Consequently the use or influence of evaluations in policy making differs considerably – there is much more instrumental (direct) use of EU evaluations compared to more conceptual or process (indirect) use of UK evaluations.

For further information contact Dr Bill Sheate or Dr Clare Twigger-Ross 

The key findings from the study are summarised in the infographic below:

CEP meta-evaluation Summary Infographic Jan 2017fin.jpg

CEP at FloodRISK Conference 2016

Photo credit: Flooded River Severn by muffinn on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

CEP at European Conference on Flood Risk Management

CEP has contributed two papers to FloodRisk 2016, the 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, which will be shown in Lyon on 19 and 20 October.  The papers are co-authored by Clare Twigger-Ross, Paula Orr, Katya Brooks and Rolands Sadauskis and draw on evidence from CEP’s evaluation of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Flood resilience Community Pathfinders (2013-15).

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross’s presentation on ‘Citizen Involvement in Flood Risk Government: Flood groups and networks’ will be shown on Wednesday 19 October, as part of the session on Disaster Management and Recovery.  A presentation by Paula Orr entitled ‘Pieces of kit are not enough: Flood infrastructure and community resilience’ will be shown on Thursday 20 October, in the session on Vulnerability and Societal Resilience.

After the conference, the presentations will be available on CEP’s website.

CEP at annual meeting of the European network for environmental foresight experts

CEP at annual meeting of the European network for environmental foresight experts

CEP’s Owen White has been invited as an external expert to participate in the annual meeting of the EIONET (European Environment Information and Observation Network) forward-looking information and services (FLIS), hosted by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen, Denmark 20-21 September 2016. 

Following on from the FLIS expert workshop Owen presented at in March 2016, Owen will be presenting the methodology CEP has developed related to downscaling the implications of global megatrends at the national or regional scale, and facilitating discussion relating to the piloting of the methodology by six case study EU countries.  The method is intended to enable EU member states or regions to identify and prioritise potential implications of global megatrends, link these with national environmental information and indicators, and help identify emerging environmental policy needs. 

CEP has been contracted to develop this methodology by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) as part of an ongoing project, and under the aegis of the EEA network of environmental foresight experts.  

EU publishes SEA Directive Effectiveness study

CEP a contributing author TO European Commission Study on the effectiveness of the SEA Directive (Directive 2001/42/EC)

An important review study of the SEA Directive, to which CEP contributed, was published recently by the European Union.  The objective of the Study concerning the preparation of the report on the application and effectiveness of the SEA Directive (Directive 2001/42/EC) was to provide the Commission with information on Member States’ progress and challenges experienced in the application of the Council Directive 2001/42/EC (‘SEA Directive’) on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment for the period 2007-2014.

The study analysed the practical implementation of the SEA Directive across all 28 Member States and then evaluated the performance of the legislation to understand how environmental considerations have been integrated into planning processes and the extent to which the SEA Directive contributes to achieving better and more coherent planning.  The study found that the SEA Directive has brought about some significant benefits to strategic planning, while also making recommendations that could further improve its efficiency, effectiveness and coherence into the future.

Dr Bill Sheate and Ric Eales from CEP contributed to the study as expert advisors, in association with Milieu Ltd, Brussels.


Photo credit: 'Wheat' by Dag Terje Filip Endresen on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


CEP's Dr Clare Twigger-Ross will be presenting at the 24th IAPS conference (International Association for People-Environment Studies). It is hosted by the Environmental Psychology Research Groups at Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in southern Sweden and takes place from 27th June - 1st July in Lund and Alnarp.   

The conference will address the study of the interrelations between the social, the built and the natural environment, and the impacts on them. The conference theme turns the spotlight on to what is at the core of the bigger issues related to global sustainability – the actions and everyday lives of humans. 

Clare will be presenting at the following sessions, on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29, drawing from the findings of two of CEP's recent projects to discuss:

EC publishes CEP's report on Public perceptions of environmental risks

European Commission publishes CEP's report on Public perceptions of environmental risks

The European Commission's Environment Directorate-General (DG Environment) has published Survey on public perceptions of environmental risks, a report of research conducted by CEP with partners at the University of A Coruña (Spain), the University of Latvia, Oikos (Slovenia), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and the West University of Timisoara (Romania).

This ambitious, Europe-wide project aimed to understand the differences between public perception and scientific assessment of environmental risks and the main factors influencing the evolution of public perceptions in Europe. The project used a mixed methodology research approach, including a survey of experts and focus groups with members of the public. 

While the issues of concern to members of the public were generally similar to the top risks identified by experts, in some cases the assessments differed widely.  This was the case with waste, which was of concern to public participants but not ranked highly by experts. The focus group discussions showed that while factors such as the proximity and scale of environmental risks do affect the way that lay people perceive these risks, their perceptions are also influenced by collective cultural, institutional and socio-political factors, including social values and the degree of trust in authorities. It was also clear that across Europe lay people are using multiple sources of information to develop their understanding of what are often complex environmental issues.

The full report can be downloaded here.

CEP authors contribute to international SEA book

CEP authors contribute to new book: European and International Experiences of Strategic Environmental Assessment: Recent Progress and Future Prospects

Bill Sheate and Ric Eales are co-authors of Chapter 8[1]  in the recently published Routledge text book European and International Experiences of Strategic Environmental Assessment: Recent Progress and Future Prospects, edited by Barry Sadler and Jiří Dusík [2].  

This book brings together the latest thinking in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and considers the key question of whether the processes are having a positive impact on strategic decision making, both in Europe and worldwide.  Bill and Ric draw on their experiences with SEA practice and the wider literature to examine the effectiveness of national SEA systems in Europe. They identify main trends and developments; key issues and perspectives; key lessons regarding process effectiveness and quality of practice; and future directions and prospects.[3]


[1] Chapter 8: Effectiveness of European national SEA systems: How are they making a difference?

[2] Published 24 March 2016.  Look inside the book here for contents and introduction.

[3] See here for a pre-print of the chapter.

European Commission publishes 3rd MAES report co-authored by CEP

The European Commission publishes the 3rd Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) report co-authored by CEP

CEP's Ric Eales and Liza Papadopoulou are contributing authors to the third technical report (2016), just published, taking stock on Mapping and assessing the condition of Europe's ecosystems: Progress and challenges.

The Biodiversity Strategy outlines a number of targets and precise actions to stop biodiversity loss. By mapping out and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services, we can help inform the policy decisions affecting the environment.

A coherent analytical framework has been developed (see first technical report, 2013) to be applied by the EU and its Member States in order to ensure consistent approaches. A second technical report (2014) proposed indicators that can be used at European and Member State's level to map and assess biodiversity, ecosystem condition and ecosystem services.

All Member States are actively involved in mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory. At EU level also, a lot of MAES-related activities are supported by the European Environment Agency and its Topic Centres, the Joint Research Centre, Eurostat, DG Research & Innovation.

More information can be found on the European Commission's website on MAES or contact Ric Eales.