EIA Update | December 2013

10th December 2013

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  • EU


Kunal Prasad

IEMA's latest update on environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice including progress on the revision to the EU Directive

Directive moves forward

The European parliament recently agreed amendments to plans to revise the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. The revision process now progresses to three-way discussions between the parliament, the EU council and the European commission. Lithuania included EIA as a key element of its environmental agenda for its six-month presidency of the council.

There appears to be an appetite from those leading the process to rapidly progress an agreed text, but this may be curtailed by significant differences in views on the scale of change that is required. The parliamentary amendments would broaden the revisions proposed by the commission in October 2012, requiring “experts” to conduct the EIA and review the environmental statement. However, the council appears to favour a pragmatic approach that would take EIA a step forward rather than a leap.

IEMA’s position statement on the revised Directive also favours a pragmatic approach, with the aim of delivering improvements that make EIA more effective and efficient rather than unduly complex.

A concern for IEMA members is that all parties in the three-way European discussions are promoting a late scoping process linked to the submission of the application for consent. Although this change would not stop EIA practitioners delivering early and effective scoping during pre-application, it risks confusing industry and fails to recognise the value of this critical process.

IEMA will continue to track the revisions and update members on progress. The next key deadline is early spring 2014; if the three parties fail to agree a revised text by then IEMA expects the process to be delayed by at least six months due to the European parliamentary elections next May.

Examining NSIP

Martin Broderick, a leading EIA practitioner and IEMA member, has been appointed by the communities and local government secretary to the authority which examines applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP). He is a member of the panel examining the application for a 430MW combined cycle gas turbine/integrated gasification combined cycle power plant in Humberside.

Broderick recently presented IEMA webinars on environment management plans and offshore cumulative effects assessment. The latter was also the topic of an article in the April 2013 issue of the environmentalist.

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