EIA update: August 2015

10th August 2015


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Management

Author

Suzannah Gore

A round-up of the latest key developments in EIA.

Scottish news

The latest EIA newsletter from the environmental assessment team at the Scottish government and the consultation authorities – Scottish Natural Heritage, Sepa and Historic Scotland – has been published (lexisurl.com/iema103318). Highlights include:

  • Throughout August, those submitting reports to the SEA Gateway will be asked to participate in a customer survey to gauge the effectiveness of the online tool to manage the administration of strategic environmental assessment consultations.
  • For three months from October, the consultation authorities plan to trial a single response to reports and plans when commenting on environmental report consultations.
  • The Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 establishes Historic Environment Scotland (HES). It will take over the functions of Historic Scotland, including its role as a consultation authority for strategic environmental assessment on behalf of Scottish ministers. Secondary legislation is due to take effect on 1 October 2015 making HES responsible for fulfilling this role in the future.
  • The 2015 Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) forum takes place on 9 September at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh. Email HRAdevelopmentplans@scotland.gsi.gov.uk to register. In 2016, the HRA and SEA forums will be combined in one event.

Planning conditions

Planning conditions, section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings are currently the only mechanisms for ensuring the delivery of mitigation commitments proposed in an environmental statement. But, as Alistair Walker at the Waterman Group argues in a new QMark paper, this process can be inefficient and the legal controls do not ensure implementation of mitigation proposals. He says this is for three main reasons: the change of responsibility from pre-planning to post-planning; a lack of ownership and responsibility for implementing and monitoring post-planning mitigation measures; and a lack of public sector resources and guidance. Walker says that simplifying the transition and having the correct mechanisms in place between the pre-planning and post-planning teams would reduce the potential for misinterpretation or poor implementation of mitigation measures after handover.

environmentalistonline.com/conds

Changing thresholds

In a QMark paper, environmental planners Adam Boyden, Alison Carroll and Jonathan Murphy at Nicholas Pearson Associates reveal where an EIA proved useful, even though it was not required. In October 2014, the University of Oxford submitted an environmental statement for student accommodation at Castle Mill. Unusually, the statement was retrospective as it assessed the environmental effects of a development that already had been built with planning permission. It identified several significant environmental effects on the landscape and the historic environment, and considered new design measures to mitigate these effects. The authors argue that, in such cases, a conventional pre-consent EIA would have identified the environmental effects of development if assessment had been required before planning permission was granted.

environmentalistonline.com/oxford


Transform articles

Land and Soil in Environmental Impact Assessment

IEMA’s Impact Assessment Network has recently been busy finalising a major guidance publication on land and soils in environmental impact assessment.

23rd September 2021

Read more

The Environment Bill returned to Parliament following the Queen’s speech and is making progress through the House of Lords.

30th July 2021

Read more

In March, the Environmental Audit Committee kicked off an inquiry focused on improving the sustainability of the built environment sector.

30th July 2021

Read more

Defra has completed a consultation on its draft environmental policy statement. This focuses on five core principles that policymakers will be expected to consider:

30th July 2021

Read more

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.

30th July 2021

Read more

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.

28th May 2021

Read more

We are anticipating the launch of new Principles for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment for the sector in July.

28th May 2021

Read more

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).

26th April 2021

Read more

The end of 2020 saw four of our members step down, having completed their three years’ service.

29th January 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert