EIA update/August 2014

7th August 2014

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Hector Fresneda

IEMA's latest update on environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice including amended EIA Directive

EIA Directive – government ponders its position

IEMA understands that the communities and local government department is exploring the costs and benefits of implementing the recent amendments to the EIA Directive. These internal government discussions are thought to indicate a preference to use the full transposition period allowed to member states (until spring 2017).

From IEMA’s viewpoint, there are clear costs of an earlier transposition, particularlyfor screening. Nonethless, the Directive’s amendments should also deliver more focused EIA, so benefits could accrue from early application, contributing to the government’s aim to make development consent regimes more proportionate. A preference for later transposition would mean consultation on implementing the Directive’s amendments in England unlikely before 2016.

Noise guidelines due in October

IEMA’s guidelines on noise impact assessment are due to be published in early October. Members can pre-order a copy by emailing a.honey@iemasts.net.

EIA Quality Mark forum 2014 develops draft action plan

The fourth EIA Quality Mark (QMark) forum was held on 12 June, with keynote presentations by Steve Quartermain, chief planner at the communities and local government department, and Stephen Tromans, leading EIA lawyer and regular columnist in the environmentalist. The day focused on making EIA practice more effective and a draft action plan was drawn up by delegates. Proposed actions include:

  • establishing a joint working group between IEMA, QMark and the UK contractors group to improve delivery of environmental design and mitigation measures at the post-planning consent stage;
  • establishing an informal developer group on delivering more effective EIA and a sustainability culture for UK infrastructure projects; and
  • enhancing QMark and members’ steer on future direction of activities around EIA.

Anyone interested in being involved should contact j.fothergill@iema.net

Consultation on revising EIA schedule 2

Steve Quartermain’s speech at the EIA Quality Mark (QMark) forum indicated that the communities and local government department would soon launch a consultation on raising the schedule 2 thresholds for EIA in England. He said the consultation would focus on ways to reduce screening burdens on developers and planning authorities, and potentially reduce the number of “undue” EIAs.

IEMA will respond to the consultation and engage members on the proposals. Meanwhile, it is advisable for practitioners to start to consider the potential consequences of re-writing the rule book in England on screening.

EIA webinars

Future EIA webinars from IEMA include:

  • 28 August – EIA and managing community impacts.
  • 25 September – Effective noise impact assessments.

For further details and to book a place go to iema.net/events

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