On 24 August the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2011 (which replace the EIA Regulations 1999) will come into effect.
The main changes in the new Regulations:
1. They are consolidated Regulations so from 24th August practitioners will only need to refer to this one set of Regulations for planning related EIA in England rather than having to be aware of the 1999 Regulatory requirements and how they are changed by the numerous amendments that were made since that time.
2. Schedule 1 and 2 have had new project types added related to carbon capture facilities, transportation pipelines and geological storage – this addition implements the changes to the EIA Directive through Directive 2009/31/EC into the English planning system.
3. Schedule 2(13) ‘Change or Extensions’ to schedule 1 and 2 development has been updated to take account of the Baker ruling.
4. Three additional Regulations have been added to provide Local Planning Authorities with greater clarity on the screening process, especially around ‘subsequent applications’ – see: Regulations 7, 8, 9
5. As a consequence of the three new screening Regulations you should be aware that Regulation 19 requests will, from 24th August be known as Regulation 22 requests.
6. A ‘third party right of challenge’ has been added (made more clear) in terms of screening. Regulation 4(8) allows an interested party (i.e. not just the developer / applicant) request that the Secretary of State make a screening direction where they disagree with a local planning authority’s screening opinion.
7. Further to the above, all LPA screening opinions (including those that indicate EIA is not required) must now have reasons (justification) behind the authority’s decision Regulation 4(7)(a), which must be made available as part of the public record – Regulation 23(1)(h).
8. The definition of ‘consultation bodies’ is amended and has added the Marine Management Organisation, under certain circumstances – Regulation 2.