News: 15 November 2016Forthcoming changes to EIA Regulations – what you need to know

England has yet to issue its draft EIA Regulations which would transpose the 2014 European Union Directive into domestic law, however the latest update from DCLG is that consultation on the draft is imminent. Scotland and Wales have published theirs.

There is therefore, still uncertainty as to when the changes will affect England however the EU deadline for transposing the Directive is 16th May 2017. There are some significant changes. Those that have significant implications for development planning include:

  • Introduction of human health, climate change mitigation and adaptation and risk of major accidents/disasters into the scope of EIA;
  • Changes to the screening process to allow an applicant to take into account evidence from other assessments already completed under EU law and mitigation measures designed into a project to avoid significant effects;
  • An increase to 90 days for issuing a Screening Opinion;
  • Where a Scoping Opinion has been sought, the EIA Report must be “based on” the Opinion;
  • Requirement for competent experts to prepare and review the EIA Report;
  • Introduction of a new timeframe for consulting the public on the EIA Report, which is no less than 30 days;
  • Requirement for a consenting decision to include requirements for mitigation and monitoring significant adverse effects.

There is uncertainty regarding the transitional arrangements for EIA. Our advice would be to have a Screening Opinion and if possible, consider scoping the EIA with the local planning authority before 16th May 2017 for a planning application to be considered under the current EIA Regulations.

If you'd like any further information, please contact Lucy Wood, Environmental Planning Director.

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