Dclg undecided on monitoring under new EIA directive

27th November 2015


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Jonathan Silcock

Responsibility for monitoring the environmental impacts of developments under new European rules should be decided case by case, according to the civil servant leading the UK's transposition of the revised EIA Directive.

Tom Simpson, team leader at the communities department (Dclg), told IEMA's EIA conference in November that the details of how to transpose rules on post-development monitoring brought in by the revision were still being discussed.

The environmental statement would identify issues that might not be solved by mitigation and should be monitored, Simpson said. It would be up to the decision-making body, in many cases the local council, to work out who was responsible and how long monitoring should last. "We would look to Natural England or the Environment Agency to advise on that," he said.

Simpson did not think the revised directive, which must be transposed by spring 2017, would place extra pressure on councils because it would lead to fewer EIAs. Many local authorities conclude after screening that a project will not cause any significant environmental effects, which, he said, rendered EIA unnecessary. "Several marginal projects should be taken out of the process, which will free up councils," Simpson said.

Josh Fothergill, policy and practice lead at IEMA, said a reason behind this was that any potential threats would have been identified early on in the EIA process and designed out of the project.

Simpson said monitoring should be linked to a way of rectifying an impact if it finds that mitigation is not working. "You'd need some way of making use of monitoring, not just do it for the sake of it." Dclg would consult on the UK's transposition of the new directive next summer, he confirmed.


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