AMECs UK environmental business employs first social scientist


London, United Kingdom (12 August 2010) - AMEC's environmental business in the UK has employed its first social scientist at a time when the social aspects of impact assessments in all sectors and geographies is of growing importance to successful project delivery.

Alka Patel, who has an MSc in Environmental Education and Development and a BSc in Physics, joins AMEC's Earth & Environmental business as an associate director. She will be based at the company's Ashford office and provide AMEC-wide support in her specialist area. 
Alka's previous roles have seen her work for both the private and public sector, including leading companies Barrick and Alcoa in addition to development agencies and NGOs. She has experience in the oil and gas, mining and general infrastructure sectors and has worked on projects in South and South East Asia, the Caucuses, the Pacific, and East and West Africa.
Alka is a passionate advocate of integrating social considerations into impact assessment studies. She believes that global 'best practice' will inevitably develop to provide a truly holistic approach with each aspect of an assessment - physical, biological, environmental, social, health, and their interrelations - given equal prominence.  

"Not enough is being done to properly integrate social and environmental studies in most sectors and geographies - and this could provide AMEC with a real opportunity to become a best practice leader in this area," explains Alka. "One of the most promising areas is the extractive industries where the social agenda is being driven forward and understanding and expertise among clients is growing. Indeed, many consultants are struggling to keep up with this change." 
Typical activity Alka will be undertaking will include: social and health impact assessments; resettlement planning; social auditing; stakeholder engagement and public consultations; strategic social and community planning; and community development. 

She will also be looking to develop training and development programmes for AMEC employees and clients to help develop social research and monitoring skills. The aim will be to help support AMEC clients, particularly on major projects with complex social considerations.

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