Changes to Environmental Impact Assessment

Changes to the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will come into effect in 2017 and these will influence the methods required to prepare EIA.

Paul Burgess, Principal at SLR’s Leeds office, is part of team overseeing the firm’s implementation of the changes and can advise clients on how the amends could impact on projects in the early stages of development.

“Essentially the changes are far-reaching and will necessitate the need for greater reasoned justification at the screening stage, the consideration of new topics in the EIA and the monitoring of significant effects. The Directive also requires developers to select suitably experienced professionals to advise them,” said Paul.

A Chartered Environmentalist, Full Member of IEMA and a registered Principal EIA Practitioner, Paul has 19 years’ experience across a wide variety of EIA work and is currently working on the pre-application stages of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

The key aspects of the amended Directive are:

1. Developers will need to ensure they use ‘competent experts’ to carry out EIA related work. Consenting authorities will also need ‘sufficient expertise’;

2. There will be a requirement for more detailed information to be provided along with the screening request for developments that fall above the Annex II screening thresholds, by  virtue of their size;

3. Where a scoping opinion is issued, a subsequent ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Report’ (i.e. the Environmental Statement in the current Directive) will need to be based on that scoping opinion;

4. Clarifications on the information to be included will cover:

  • biodiversity;
  • climate change;
  • a description of production processes, for instance, ‘energy demand and energy used’ and the ‘quantities and types of waste generated’ by a project;
  • alternatives;
  • cumulative effects; and
  • environmental effects where the proposed development presents an ‘accident and disaster risk’ to the environment.
5. The requirement for post-development monitoring; and 6. The need to address potential conflict of interests where the Applicant is also the Determining Authority.

For more information see EIA or contact Paul Burgess in the Leeds office on 0113 258 0650 if you have any queries about how the new Directive could affect you.