Environmental Impact Assessment and Energy Projects

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process that almost all energy projects will have to deal with in one form or another because energy projects, as a general rule, do not escape interaction with the legislation governing EIA.

This is because they are either caught by the EIA Regs and require EIA or they need to screen against the need for EIA to protect the project from potential court challenges.

Whilst an energy project brought forward by some of the community will hopefully lessen the issues that can make energy projects controversial, some projects will raise objections and the grant of any development’s planning permission can be challenged in court. EIA is one aspect that may be used. Any flaws in the EIA process will lead to weakness in the project that could be used by objectors and challenged in the courts.

On that basis two short papers have been produced to help groups consider some of the high level issues for EIA. One focuses solely on screening and the other on EIA itself. They Relate to England only.

Please note that these overview notes were current at the time of drafting (30 September 2016). However, there is a new Environmental Impact Assessment Directive in force that is supposed to be transposed by the UK government in May 2017. However, with Brexit in the near future the UK government may not rush to comply with this requirement. The changes within the new directive do not change the advice in these notes but do alter some of the detail matters such as deadlines for consultation and who can apply for screening opinions.

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