IEMA's latest update on legislation and guidance relating to environmental impact assessment (EIA) including news on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill and the European Commission's proposals ro revise the EIA Directive
The European Commission has launched its proposals to substantively amend the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive 2011/92/EU. Of note is that IEMA member input into the review is acknowledged in the commission’s document and that the proposals call for the development of “accredited and technically competent [EIA] experts”.
Quality Mark forum
This year’s forum was held in Birmingham on 17 October and was attended by more than 70 delegates from scheme registrants and invited guests. Discussions included the new EIA Directive, iterative design, climate change, biodiversity data management and EIA follow-up.
Northern Ireland has revised its EIA planning advice to align with the consolidated EIA Regulations that came into force on 13 March 2012. The updated advice was launched in September and is titled Development control advice note 10.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government plans to launch a new EIA planning advisory note (PAN) by the end of 2012 to replace the existing PAN48.
Lastly, the consultation from the Welsh assembly government on updating its Town and Country Planning EIA Regulations – to make amendments that have already been implemented in the rest of the UK – is expected shortly.
Growth Bill and EIA
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which was laid in parliament at the start of October, could influence the future practice of EIA, particularly around scoping and further information requests. The proposals include limiting the type of information a planning authority can request alongside an application, and allowing major project applications, which are more likely to require EIA, to go directly to the planning inspectorate for determination within a 12-month time period.
RenewableUK will shortly launch guidance on assessing cumulative environmental effects for offshore projects following a presentation of the guide at its October 2012 conference. Meanwhile, DECC’s offshore strategic environmental assessment programme has published the two new research studies related to offshore impact assessments: