New EIA regulations published

1st August 2011

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New English planning regulations implementing changes from the EU Directive on environment impact assessment (EIA) will come into force less than a month.

The Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations (2011), which in the main apply only to England, amalgamate more than a decade of amendments to the 1999 Regulations as well as adopting changes in European legislation.

Key changes include the addition of new project types related to carbon capture facilities, transportation pipelines and geological storage. The Regulations also create three additional Regulations to provide Local Planning Authorities with greater clarity on the screening process, especially around subsequent applications.

Further changes to the screening element of the regulations include the introduction of a right of challenge for third parties. From the 24 August interested parties, and not just developers and applicants, can request that the secretary of state make a screening direction where they disagree with a local planning authorities.

The Regulations also require that local planning authorities publically reveal their justifications for all screening decisions, including those that indicate EIA is not required.

Planning related EIA in the devolved governments, however, will be legislated for individually. The Scottish EIA Regulations dealing with these issues came into force on 1 June, while Wales will continue to follow the 1999 Regulations (as amended) until the Welsh Assembly Government has consulted on and amended their own EIA regime.

The Welsh consultation is expected in late summer with the new regulations anticipated by the end of the year.


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