Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), also known as Environmental Statements, are governed by the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2011 and they only apply to certain types of development.
What is an EIA?
EIAs are a tool that is used in order to ensure that the Local Planning Authority, when determining planning applications, which are likely to have significant effects on the environment, is made aware of the significant effects and that these are taken into account in the decision making process.
The EIA regulations set out procedures for identifying those proposals that should be subject to an EIA. These assessments are not intended to be a barrier to growth and will only apply to a small number of planning applications; they should only be required where proposals are likely to have a significant impact on the environment.
What is the process?
There are three stages to the EIA process:
- Screening – this is where the Local Planning Authority is asked whether a proposal falls within the remit of the regulations; the Local Planning Authority will advise whether it is likely that the proposal will have a significant impact on the environment and therefore whether an assessment is required.
- Scoping – this is where the extent of the issues to be considered in the assessment are decided. The Local Planning Authority is asked what information they wish to see included within the assessment.
- Preparing – once it is established that an assessment is required, it is then up to the applicant to correlate all of the necessary information to allow the Local Planning Authority to assess the likely impact of the development on the environment.
The completed EIA will then be submitted as part of any planning application and it will be considered by the Local Planning Authority when determining the application.
What should be included?
For more information on what should be included in an Environmental Impact Assessement please see the Planning Practice Guidance pages - Preparing an Environmental Statement.
N.B.. An EIA can be submitted as part of a planning application without first seeking a screening or scoping opinion from the Local Planning Authority.