EIA update/August 2014
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
In June 2021, the UK’s governing Conservative Party lost a by-election in Chesham and Amersham, a seat it had held for 47 years. The principal reasons reported as the cause of this defeat were proposed planning reforms and the promotion of housebuilding on greenfield sites across the south of England.
As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the EIA Quality Mark, IEMA can announce that, during the past 12 months, the scheme has undergone a thorough review of practice, including stakeholder consultation with registrants and assessors, in order to improve it.
The delivery of effective outcomes for the environment, communities and development is a team effort, and more so when it comes to consenting projects that undergo Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).