Environmental Impact Assessment

The planning applicant should also establish whether the development would require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

An EIA ensures that the environmental consequences of a development are understood and taken into account before planning consent is granted. Typically, only major urban developments or proposals in sensitive areas will have the potential for significant environmental effects and will thereby require an EIA. The local planning authority should be able to advise on whether an EIA is appropriate.

What legislation covers Environmental Impact Assessment?

The process of Environmental Impact Assessment in the context of town and country planning in England is governed by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 (the ‘2017 Regulations’). These regulations apply to development given planning permission under Part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The regulations apply the amended EU directive ‘on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment’ (usually referred to as the ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Directive’) to the planning system in England. All further references to regulations in this guidance are to the 2017 Regulations unless otherwise stated. Subject to certain transitional arrangements set out in regulation 76 of the 2017 Regulations, the 2017 Regulations revoke the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (referred to in this guidance as ‘the 2011 Regulations’). {Read about the transitional provisions}.

The regulations only apply to certain types of development – though it is worth noting that they can apply to ‘permitted development’, which is development for which planning permission is not typically required. They do not apply to development given consent under other regimes; these are subject to separate Environmental Impact Assessment regulations.

Page updated: 5/02/2018

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