EIA Reserve Matters

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.


EBRD Publishes Public Information Policy

May 15, 2008

The new EBRD Public information policy (PIP) was approved on the 12th May. It sets out how the EBRD discloses information and consults with its stakeholders so as to promote better awareness and understanding of its strategies, policies and operations. At the same time, the PIP establishes clear lines of demarcation to distinguish information which is made publicly available (either on a routine basis or upon request) from information which may not be disclosed on the grounds of being confidential. This is to ensure that mutual trust is maintained between the Bank, its business clients and other partners.

Inadequate integration of human rights law – the need for additional risk management

January 23, 2008

The risks associated with financing projects can vary significantly according to the geographical location of the project. While many projects that the banks are asked to consider financing are in compliance with national legislation and permit requirements, they may fall short of international standards and best practice. A detailed understanding of the project’s political and legal framework is required in order to judge the extent to which national requirements meet the risk management needs of international financial organisations.

Use, misuse and abuse of human rights rhetoric: the case of Serbia

National application of human rights law is one of the most important tests of its efficacy. This article examines the integration of international human rights law into Serbia’s legal system. The paper argues that the use of human rights language does not necessarily indicate the proper and correct use of human rights norms

The paper covers the following:

  • an overview on the intersection of international and national law with special reference to Serbia and Montenegro
  • the existing legal framework for the integration of international human rights law
  • an examination of the propriety of human rights law language discourse
  • a discussion on the separation of the executive and the judiciary

The paper makes the following conclusions:

  • the legislative framework in Serbia favours the integration of human rights law
  • despite some successes there some legislative acts and a lack of human right jurisprudence indicates that international human rights law has not been properly integrated into the legal system
  • there has been a misuse of human rights law and clash between judicial and political discourse on human rights
  • the inadequate training of the judiciary has led to judicial deference to the executive branch of government.

A-Z Guidelines to Successful Public Private Partnership

November 3, 2006

This seminar is being held by the European Public Private Partnership Centre in Hungary. On the 27th – 29th November 2006, at the Corinthia Aquincum Hotel, Budapest.

I am delighted to have been invited to present on ‘The need for environmental and social risk management for PPP Projects’.

The European Public-Private Partnership Center (EPPPC) was established to serve as a know-how center for public sector bodies, private entrepreneurs, investors and other industry players in the growing international marketplace of PPPs. Their state aim is to fully embrace the idea of PPP and educate the above representatives by offering them comprehensive training services as well as widespread expertise through consulting.

Link to the Training Workshop Brochure

New UK EIA Good Practice Guidelines and Procedures

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.

European Court

  • 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.

Dutch banks are asked to improve their Climate Policies to catch up with big international banks

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.

EIB and EBRD will apply the EU’s principles on environmental protection to project financing

June 19, 2006

London, 1 June: The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a declaration promising to apply the EU’s principles on environmental protection to project financing.In order to secure a loan from the banks, a project should now adhere to the European Principles for the Environment (EPE), which are based on EU environmental legislation and the environmental principles enshrined in the treaties underpinning the EU.

However, campaign groups are already saying that the declaration does not go far enough, because the requirement is subject to the banks’ environmental policies and, outside of Europe, subject to local conditions.

Stoczkiewicz also expressed concern about how the principles would be applied to projects financed by the EIB in Latin America and Asia. “These conditions will not necessarily come from the country’s legislation or the country’s government itself,” she said.

Arango said that it would not be practicable to expect projects in developing countries to adhere to some EU legislation. He said: “We do not go down the line of dumping environmental externalities on developing countries. When you go into developing countries, you have to be realistic.”