Imperial College London

Dr William R Sheate

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Emeritus Reader in Environmental Assessment



+44 (0)20 7594 9299w.sheate




110AWeeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Originally an ecologist, Bill has worked, lectured and published widely on environmental impact assessment (EIA) for 40 years. He has worked as a practicing ecologist, in consultancy, academia and in the voluntary sector.  His experience lies in the development and application of EIA/SEA/SA legislation in the European Union, assessment procedures, methodologies, and public and NGO participation. He has been an expert advisor to the EC; the European Environment Agency; the governments of Ireland, Uruguay and Nicaragua; CPRE, RSPB, WWF and the National Trust; was a long-standing member of the Environment Agency (and formerly NRA) Thames Regional Committees; and has been involved in various committees of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). He has managed major studies for the European Commission DG Environment on SEA and Integration of the Environment into Strategic Decision-Making (2000/01); on the relationship between the EIA and SEA Directives (2004/5); and led an international team in the development and application of sustainability assessment of biodiversity management scenarios for declining agricultural areas in upland Europe (EU 5FP, BioScene, 2002-5).  Recent activities include research and SEA in Scotland and Wales, research in Ireland on the Water Framework Directive and its relationship with other environmental Directives, research for the European Environment Agency on scenarios, futures studies and megatrends, research for Defra on ecosystem services in the Thames Gateway, and sustainability appraisal for the Greater London Authority on the GLA's Water Strategy and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.  He was a co-author on the Urban chapter of the UK's first National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA, 2011), and of recent guidance (2013) by the European Commission on integrating biodiversity and climate change in EIA and SEA. He was a co-investigator and a senior advisor on two of the NEA2 projects (2013) and led the evaluation project for Defra on the biodiversity offsetting pilot scheme in England (2012-14). He has been recognised as an international expert in advising on environmental assessment and compliance matters, e.g. for judicial review. He was appointed Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into HS2 and the Environment (2014).  In April 2015 he testified on behalf of the Government of Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice in Nicaragua v Costa Rica (Border Road).

Bill has published extensively in the assessment field, and is the author of Making an Impact: A Guide to EIA Law and Policy (1994, 2nd edition1996) published by Cameron May, London, and editor of the book - Tools, Techniques and Approaches for Sustainability - published by World Scientific (October 2009). He was the Founding Editor of the international Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (ICP/WSPC) (from 1998-2009), now firmly established as one of the leading journals in the environmental assessment field.  He continues as a member of the JEAPM editorial board.

He has many years' experience of teaching, training and pastoral care at advanced levels, was Director of the Core Course for 24 years for the interdisciplinary MSc in Environmental Technology and Departmental Careers Advisor for the Centre for Environmental Policy for 10 years.  Bill is an experienced external examiner for Masters courses and PhDs, was part-time Associate Director with Collingwood Environmental Planning until August 2021, a member of the Academic Panel of Francis Taylor Building Barristers' Chambers in London until September 2023 and is also an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Environment, Education and Development at the University of Manchester.  He retired from Imperial College London after 28 years at the end of September 2023, and continues to hold an Emeritus Reader position.

He continues to practice as a registered Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist specialising in anxiety and stress, particularly in higher education as well as in eco-anxiety.  He is based in the heart of academia in Bloomsbury  and continues to runs an innovative Relaxation and Resilience programme as part of transferable skills training on the MSc Environmental Technology, and mindful learning and resilience skills training across the Faculties of Natural Sciences and Engineering; and the Business School at Imperial College London and the University of Manchester.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Thiermann UB, Sheate WR, 2022, How does mindfulness affect pro-environmental behaviors? a qualitative analysis of the mechanisms of change in a sample of active practitioners, Mindfulness, Vol:13, ISSN:1868-8527, Pages:2997-3016

Aquilina MC, Sheate WR, 2021, A critical analysis of the role of the urban climate resilience nexus in London, European Planning Studies, Vol:30, ISSN:0965-4313, Pages:1-23

Thiermann UB, Sheate WR, 2021, The Way Forward in Mindfulness and Sustainability: a Critical Review and Research Agenda, Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, Vol:5, ISSN:2509-3290, Pages:118-139

Sheate WR, Twigger-Ross C, Papadopoulou L, et al., 2020, Learning lessons for evaluating complexity across the nexus: a meta-evaluation of environmental projects, Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, Vol:16, ISSN:1556-8180, Pages:1-19

Thiermann UB, Sheate WR, Vercammen A, 2020, Practice Matters: Pro-environmental Motivations and Diet-Related Impact Vary With Meditation Experience, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol:11, ISSN:1664-1078

Thiermann UB, Sheate WR, 2020, Motivating individuals for social transition: The 2-pathway model and experiential strategies for pro-environmental behaviour, Ecological Economics, Vol:174, ISSN:0921-8009

Carvalho S, Partidario M, Sheate W, 2017, High speed rail comparative strategic assessments in EU member states, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol:66, ISSN:0195-9255, Pages:1-13

Sussams LW, Sheate WR, Eales RP, 2015, Green infrastructure as a climate change adaptation policy intervention: Muddying the waters or clearing a path to a more secure future?, Journal of Environmental Management, Vol:147, ISSN:0301-4797, Pages:184-193

Baker J, Sheate WR, Phillips P, et al., 2013, Ecosystem services in environmental assessment - Help or hindrance?, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol:40, ISSN:0195-9255, Pages:3-13

Fazey I, Evely AC, Reed MS, et al., 2013, Knowledge Exchange: A Review and Research Agenda, Environmental Conservation, Vol:40, Pages:19-36

Partidario MR, Sheate WR, 2013, Knowledge brokerage - potential for increased capacities and shared power in impact assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol:39, Pages:26-36

Sheate WR, Eales RP, Daly E, et al., 2012, Spatial representation and specification of ecosystem services: A methodology using land use/land cover data and stakeholder engagement, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, Vol:14, ISSN:1464-3332

Sheate WR, 2012, Purposes, Paradigms and Pressure Groups: Accountability and Sustainability in EUEnvironmental Assessment, 1985-2010., Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol:33, Pages:91-102

Sheate WR, Partidario MR, 2010, Strategic approaches and assessment techniques - potential for knowledge brokerage towards sustainability, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol:30, Pages:278-288

Partidario M, Sheate WR, Bina O, et al., 2008, Sustainability assessment for agriculture scenarios in Europe's mountain areas: lessons from six study areas (in press), Environmental Management

William R. Sheate, Maria Rosário do Partidário, Helen Byron, et al., 2007, Sustainability Assessment of Future Scenarios: Methodology and Application to Mountain Areas of Europe, Environmental Management

Gu LX, Sheate WR, 2005, Institutional challenges for EIA implementation in China: A case study of development versus environmental protection, Environmental Management, Vol:36, ISSN:0364-152X, Pages:125-142

Cooper LM, Sheate WR, 2004, Integrating cumulative effects assessment into UK strategic planning: Implications of the European Union SEA Directive, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, Vol:22, ISSN:1461-5517, Pages:5-16

Sheate WR, 2003, Changing conceptions and potential for conflict in environmental assessment: Environmental integration and sustainable development, Environmental Policy and Law, Vol:33, ISSN:0378-777X, Pages:219-230

Sheate WR, Dagg S, Richardson J, et al., 2003, Integrating the environment into strategic decision-making: Conceptualizing policy sea, European Environment, Vol:13, ISSN:0961-0405, Pages:1-18


Sheate WR, 2009, Tools, techniques & approaches for sustainability: Collected writings in environmental assessment policy and management, ISBN:9789814289689


Baker J, Papadopoulou L, Sheate W, 2018, United Kingdom, Biodiversity Offsets: European Perspectives on No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Pages:211-239, ISBN:9783319725796

Sheate WR, 2017, 'Streamlining' the SEA Process, Editor(s): Jones, Scotford, HART PUBL, Pages:185-212, ISBN:978-1-84946-633-2

Sheate WR, Eales RP, 2016, Effectiveness of European national SEA systems: How are they making a difference?, European and International Experiences of Strategic Environmental Assessment: Recent Progress and Future Prospects, Pages:177-201, ISBN:9780415656771

Russell D, Turnpenny J, Bond A, et al., 2014, UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 9: Embedding an Ecosystem Services Framework in appraisal: Key barriers and enablers., UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on Phase, UNEP-WCMC, LWEC, UK.


White O, Sadauskis R, Sheate WR, et al., 2018, Water Use in the Western Balkans: regional outlooks and global megatrends, Water Use in the Western Balkans: regional outlooks and global megatrends, ETC/ICM Technical Report 2/2018, Magdeburg, European Topic Centre on inland, coastal and marine waters

Baker J, Sheate WR, Bennett T, et al., 2016, Evaluation of the Biodiversity Offsetting Pilot Programme, Evaluation of the Biodiversity Offsetting Pilot Programme Final ReportVolume 1, WC1051, Defra, London

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