Developers have expressed concern over amendments to the Town and Country Planning Regulations on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)s which come into force today.

They believe the new amendments will be an "unwelcome layer of extra red tape." Commercial law firm Wedlake Bell says that new regulations that give planning authorities the power to force developers to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments they have already undertaken, will come as a blow to developers battling the credit crunch.

The regulations will affect developers who have been granted outline planning permission before matters such as the layout and landscaping have been finalised.

According to Wedlake Bell, planning authorities will now be able to demand that an additional EIA be carried out before they grant full planning permission should they feel more information is needed to satisfy the EIA Directive.

Developers who have been granted outline planning permission without an EIA may also be forced to submit one if the planning authority considered that one is now needed.