EIA Update | September 2013

6th September 2013

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IEMA's latest update on environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice including new guidance from Scottish authorities and the online replacement for circular 02/99

Replacing circular 02/99

The communities department has unveiled a new online library of guidance on the planning regime in England and Wales.

It includes a replacement for the department’s 58-page guide on environmental impact assessment (EIA) – circular 02/99. The eight webpages on EIA cover, for example, the purpose of EIA, the stages of an assessment and who is responsible for preparing the environmental statement.

The move is aimed at streamlining the planning process, with more than 7,000 pages of guidance reduced to about 500 online pages.

The launch is only in “beta” at this stage, meaning the online guidance is being tested to ensure it works and provides accurate advice.

Testing continues until 9 October and IEMA is interested in hearing the thoughts of members, either via its LinkedIn group or by email (j.fothergill@iema.net). Existing guidance will not be cancelled until the new online guidance is finalised.

EIA and SEA in Scotland

On 30 August the Scottish government updated its EIA guidance (PAN58) and its toolkit on strategic environmental assessment (SEA).

The EIA guide has been developed to create more proportionate project-based assessments in Scotland and is aimed mainly at local authorities and statutory consultees.

The revised SEA toolkit is a more holistic review of how the assessments can be delivered effectively.

The revised guidance moves away from the previous one-size-fits-all approach to provide a more flexible support mechanism. It will enable experienced practitioners to apply new techniques where they are likely to prove more effective than the previous focus on objective-led assessment.

Proportionate EIA is achievable

IEMA will host its third EIA Quality Mark forum on 11 September and more than 75 delegates are expected to attended the event at CH2M Hill’s offices in London.

The focus of the forum is on how to deliver proportionate EIA for the UK. The keynote address will examine EIA’s role in nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) is to be delivered by Sir Michael Pitt, chief executive at the Planning Inspectorate.

Topics for discussions will cover the role of consenting authorities and statutory consultees to how environmental statements can be made more accessible.

EIA webinars

The EIA webinar on 26 September will provide advice on how to take account of climate change in EIA. Subsequent EIA webinars to the end of the year are:

  • Effectively linking EIA and Habitats Directive assessments.
  • Evaluating the significance of greenhouse-gas emissions in EIA.
  • Considering water in EIA.

The lunchtime sessions (12:30–13:30) will be held on: 31 October, 28 November and 19 December.

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