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Amendments to EIA regulations: What you need to know

In May 2017, the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 and The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 came into force, alongside other UK EIA Regulations; these reflected the Government’s legal obligations with respect to EU Directive 2014/52/EU.

Amendments to these regulations were laid before Parliament in June 2018 and come into force on 1 October 2018.

What are the changes?

There are a number of minor amendments and replacement sections, however, the key change in practice is in relation to Schedule 2 and determining the need for EIA for industrial estate development projects.

Schedule 2 of the regulations is a tool to understand the types of project that should be considered under the EIA Regulations. They also provide thresholds to determine the need for EIA on projects that lie outside a sensitive area. The threshold for industrial estate development projects [Schedule 2 10 (a)] is increasing from 0.5 hectares to 5 hectares.

Why are the changes being made?

The change for industrial estate development projects is actually rectifying a mistake in the Town and Country Planning (EIA Regulations) 2017 as they failed to recognise previous changes made in 2015.

When are the changes coming into force?

The amendments only relate to the English EIA Regulations and they come into force today (1 October) after being laid before Parliament in June this year.

What are the implications?

If you are in the process of planning industrial projects, it would be worth getting in touch to see if there is a need for EIA. It may be that EIA (and Screening for EIA) is not required for projects less than 5 hectares, however, the sensitivity of the surrounding environment and the specifics of the location and project still require careful evaluation if risks are to be avoided.

The upshot is that we may be able to avoid unnecessary cost and time at no extra risk.

Further Information

For further information contact Andy Ricketts.

1 October 2018