Published: Thursday, 22nd December 2016
New consultation on the latest version of the Environment Impact Assessment launched, with potential changes to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the infrastructure planning regime...
The government has launched a consultation on the latest version of the European Union’s Environment Impact Assessment directive which was approved in May 2014.
Some 13 changes to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the infrastructure planning regime enacted by the Planning Act 2008 are in prospect.
- The addition of a definition of the environmental impact assessment process
- Changes to the circumstances in which a project may be exempt from the requirements of the Directive
- Introduction of joint and/or coordinated procedures for projects which are subject to the Habitats or Wild Birds Directives as well as the EIA directive
- Changes to the list of environmental factors to be considered as part of the environmental impact assessment process
- Clarification of the options for screening and amendments to the information which is required and the criteria to be applied when screening projects to determine whether the directive applies
- Amendments to the information to be included in the environmental statement
- A requirement for environmental statements to be ‘based on’ a scoping opinion, where one is issued
- The use of competent experts
- A requirement to inform the public of projects electronically
- A new article elaborating on information to be given in decision notices and the decision making procedures
- Monitoring significant adverse effects
- A new Article requiring the avoidance of conflicts of interest
- The introduction of penalties for infringements of national provisions.
BDB’s infrastructure planning guru Angus Walker commented: “If a screening opinion, scoping opinion or an actual application have been applied for before 16 May 2017, then the new provisions will not apply. Expect a rush of such requests (particularly the first two) in early May.”
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also begun similar exercises.