Purpose of an Environmental Impact Assessment
The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to ensure that a local planning authority (LPA), when deciding whether to grant planning permission for a major development, does so in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects on the environment. The EIA regulations set out a procedure for identifying those projects which should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, and for assessing, consulting and coming to a decision on those projects which are likely to have significant environmental effects.
There are five stages to the EIA process:
- Screening: Determination by the LPA as to whether a proposed project falls within the remit of the Regulations.
- Scoping: Determination of which environmental issues should be considered in the assessment. The applicant can ask the LPA for their opinion on this.
- Preparation: Collecting the information necessary to determine the potential environmental effects of the development, measures that could mitigate the effects and presentation of the results as an Environmental Statement (ES).
- Submission and consultation: Once submitted with a planning application, statutory consultees and the public must be given an opportunity to give their views about the proposed development and the quality/appropriateness of the submitted ES.
- Decision making: The ES, comments and representations made on it, together with any other information relevant to the decision must be taken into account by the LPA and/or the Secretary of State in deciding whether or not to give consent for the development.
The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 transpose the 2014-amended EIA EU Directive into UK law.
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