September 22, 2008
The amended EIA regulation came into force on the 1st September 2008.
These Regulations amend the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 (the 1999 Regulations”) so that they apply to applications for subsequent approval of matters under conditions attached to planning permissions.
In 2006, the House of Lords and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the UK had failed to transpose the EIA Directive correctly, because the Regulations implementing the EIA Directive allowed only for EIA before the grant of outline planning permission and not at the later stage when reserved matters were approved.
The ECJ ruled that where development cannot be carried out until details relating to reserved matters are approved by a local planning authority, the decisions to grant outline planning permission and to approve the reserved matters must be considered to constitute, as a whole, a multi-stage development consent for the purposes of the EIA Directive. If it became apparent during the course of the second stage that the project was likely to have significant effects on the environment (for example, where those effects were not identifiable until then) then an environmental impact assessment was required. Since the Regulations then in force did not allow for EIA to be required at that stage, they did not fully implement the EIA Directive.
These Regulations amend the 1999 Regulations to close the loophole identified by the ECJ. As well as applying to applications for approval or reserved matters and other matters under a condition, they also apply to ROMP (review of mineral permissions) applications.
June 29, 2006
New good practice guidelines for EIA in the UK and an amended Circular on EIA have been released for consultation. These take into consideration some decisive EIA case law and recent judgements of the European Court of Justice:
UK Case Law:
- A single project cannot be divided into smaller parts to avoid thresholds.
- The scheme must be sufficiently fixed to allow adequate assessment of the environmental impacts.
- Information relating to potentially significant impacts should be made available at the time of the decision. Conditioning surveys is not sufficient unless this is accompanied by mitigation to prevent significant impacts.
- ES should be self contained.
- In some cases EIA can be required at the reserve matters stage (R-v-London Borough of Bromley, ex parte Barker)
- The EIA Directive should have a “wide scope and broad purpose” in it’s application.
June 23, 2006
Banks are increasingly being asked by NGos and shareholders to ensure they have adequate investment policies in place and to ensure their investments are sustainable. This includes directing a suitable proportion of their investment towards solutions for climate change. It is good to see big international banks setting the standard and acting as a driving force for improvements across the market.
A report comparing the nature of Dutch bank investments has claimed that the climate policies of the big Dutch banks are insufficient and lag behind those of big international banks such as the Bank of America and Citigroup: ‘Investing in Climate Change: the Role of Dutch Banks and the Climate Performance Index. Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) today presented these results during the annual meeting of the branch organisation for Dutch banks, NVB and called on all Dutch banks to improve their climate policies.
Many international banks recognise the role they play in causing climate change. They accept their responsibility by investing billions in the solution. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a criteria for approving investments and loans at the Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup. The Bank of America has a seven percent reduction target for the CO2 emissions of its investments in the energy sector.
The research for ‘Investing in Climate Change: the Role of Dutch Banks’, was conducted by Dutch Sustainability Research. The report and the Friends of the Earth Netherlands’ Climate Performance Index suggests that Dutch banks are failing in the area of climate policies. They claim that they lack concrete targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their investments.