On 31st July the Communities and Local Government Department (DCLG) launched a technical consultation on the English planning system, including proposals to amend the EIA screening process for housing developments and industrial estate proposals.
This 2 hour workshop is aimed at those involved in EIA who wish to discuss the consultation and wider potential efficiencies achievable by amending the EIA Regulations.
The Treasury and DCLG flagged changes to the EIA screening system back in autumn 2012. However, the proposals that have emerged over 18 months later appear rather tame:
- Increasing the threshold for housing projects from 0.5ha to 5ha, with up to 1ha of commercial development
- Increasing the Industrial Estate threshold from 0.5ha to 20ha.
The consultation also seeks to identify views on whether other Schedule 2 thresholds should also be amended.
Whilst apparently innocuous in scale, DCLG indicates these two categories account for 1800 screening decisions in England each year and the hope is the new thresholds will reduce this to 300 decisions. Key questions for IEMA members are:
-Will these new thresholds ensure environmental protection is maintained?
-Can simple land area (ha) based thresholds effectively capture the breadth and complexity of likely significant effects?
-Should DCLG be going further – perhaps transposing some aspects of the amended EIA Directive (2014/52/EU) early – to drive wider efficiency?
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DELEGATES
Places at these workshops will be limited to generate effective opportunity for contribution from all delegates. Those attending should be familiar with the English EIA system and its screening process, as the focus is on delegate discussion around the implications of the DCLG proposals.