EIA Onshore Developments
- Consent Needed and How to Obtain It
- Procedure to Determine if ES needed
- Procedure for Preparing Regulatory Environmental Statement
- Performance Standards
- Sampling/Monitoring Requirements
- Reporting Requirements
- Non Compliance
- Renewal and Variation
- Pending Legislation
|Requirement for EIA:||EIA is mandatory for projects listed in Schedule 1 of the EIA Regulations.
Where an EIA is not automatically mandatory, dispensation must be sought from the local planning authority not to produce an ES. Projects requiring consideration are listed in Schedule 2 of the EIA Regulations and are determined on a case-by-case basis using criteria set out in Schedule 3.
|How to Apply for it:||
A project must first be screened to determine if an EIA is required. This may be determined by the EIA regulations which provide guideline and criteria thresholds that are likely to result in significant environmental impacts and, as such, an EIA will be required. Schedule 1 of the EIA provides a list of projects for which an EIA is mandatory. If the proposed project is listed in Schedule 2 and exceeds the associated thresholds, the operator can either decide independently that an ES will need to be completed, or he can apply to the planning authority for a decision on whether an ES is needed.
Either subsequently or in parallel to this screening request the operator may apply to the planning authority for a scoping opinion to identify the likely areas of potentially significant impact for further investigation. This application must include:
Scoping generally occurs between the developer, competent authority, relevant agencies and statutory consultees such as SEPA, RSPB, etc. The purpose of the scoping process is to focus resources and time by identifying what the possible impacts of the proposal are likely to be and to suggest possible mitigation measures. The scoping process will help to establish communications between the developer and statutory consultees and will flag any constraints and potential difficulties to the developer.
The planning authority will take into account the criteria listed in Schedule 3 of the Regulations when determining whether a project shall be subject to EIA.
|Who to Apply To:||Application in writing to the appropriate planning authority.|
|When to Apply:||The operator can apply to the appropriate planning authority at any time for a decision on the need for an ES, i.e. well in advance of a formal planning application. If the operator makes such an approach, the planning authority are required to give their decision within 3 weeks of receiving the application.|
|Conditions in Consent:||ES approval and project approval are likely to contain conditions, in particular the expectation that commitments made in terms of environmental impact mitigation and management within the ES will be adhered to.|
|Habitats Directive and Birds Directive:||The planning authority is obliged to take proper account of the obligations stemming from the Birds and Habitats Directives to protect and conserve the marine environment. See Habitats Regulatory Assessment page for more details.|
|Transboundary Effects:||If the project is likely to have significant transboundary effects, these must be addressed in the EIA and reported in the ES.|
|Cumulative Effects:||An individual project may pose minor environmental impacts to the environment but when considered alongside other projects the cumulative effect may be potentially much higher. Potential cumulative effects should be identified and considered within the EIA process.|
|Not directly applicable.|
|Not directly applicable.|
|Operating in breach of requirements:||If a project listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Regulations is undertaken without having a planning application and where applicable an ES approved, the operator will be prosecuted.|
|Renewal:||Planning approval will set a timescale for the project to go ahead. If the project does not go ahead within this time then a new application/renewal of ES will be required.
Any project variation that may alter the findings of the EIA undertaken must be notified to the planning authority. They may request additional environmental information to be supplied. For significant variations, they may request an additional EIA be undertaken and ES submitted as this may qualify as a project modification.
|Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) Consultative Draft – Onshore Oil and Gas Developments:||The Scottish Government is proposing changes to their planning policy (see below). In particular, the proposed policy changes include changes related to onshore oil and gas developments:Current policy on planning control over onshore oil and gas operations is set out in Circular 12/1986. The Circular indicates the national policy considerations which need to be taken into account, the importance of including appropriate policies in development plans and some of the factors to be considered when determining individual planning applications. The Circular supports the maximum economic exploitation of oil and gas reserves over time, consistent with good oilfield practice and protection of the environment. The National Planning Framework highlights the potential for coal bed methane to contribute to national gas supplies and requires planning authorities in the Central Belt to consider the potential for onshore gas extraction when preparing their development plan.Scottish Ministers are proposing to update policy relating to onshore oil and gas operations, replacing Circular 12/1986 with a new section in the consolidated SPP. The proposed policy is:
The 2nd Amendment to the Espoo Convention was adopted in 2004. Once in force, it will allow affected Parties to participate in EIA scoping, require reviews of compliance and enable contracting parties to revise the list of activities covered by the Convention in Appendix I.
|Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006:||The Planning etc. ( Scotland) Act 2006 (PDF document) is one of the most important reforms in the planning system in recent years, providing a legal framework for administration by central and local government. The timetable for the roll out of the Act by the Scottish Executive indicates the provisions of the relevant statutory instruments will be fully operational in the course of 2008/9. The Planning Act does not repeal the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 and other existing planning legislation; it operates by way of replacing new sections into the current Acts.|
|The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2010: Consultation Report:||In February 2011 the Scottish Government published a report summarising the consultation responses received by the Scottish Government to its consultation on The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (PDF document). The report also provides an outline of the Scottish Government’s proposals for taking forward the development of secondary legislation.|
|Wildlife Management Legislation Reform:||In 2012 the Law Commission undertook consultation to reform outdated wildlife legislation. Much of the older legislation is out of step with modern requirements, and the principal modern Act – the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – has been amended to such a degree that it is difficult for any non-specialists to use. A consultation summary paper (PDF document) has been produced alongside a consultation impact assessment (PDF document).|
|Proposals for an Integrated Framework of Environmental Regulation:||The proposals outlined by SEPA will deliver a simpler legislative framework which will enable SEPA to focus its greatest effort on the environmental problems that matter most. It will provide a more consistent range of enforcement tools so that proportionate and effective action can be taken against those who would damage the environment. The consultation that has been undertaken is built on previous consultations focusing on changes to the structure of environmental protection legislation in order to create a new, integrated framework for the permissions (licences, permits, rules, etc.) which will be used to control activities which could harm the environment.|
|Consultation on Environmental Impact Assessment amending Scottish Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations to Transpose Directive 2014/52/EU||Scottish Ministers are inviting comments on a Consultation (available here), setting out proposals for implementing Directive 2014/52/EU (amending) Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects in the environment.Any responses must be submitted by 31st October 2016.|
|Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC:||
The Environmental Liability Directive was adopted in 2004 and was required to be implemented by 30 April 2007. The Directive enforces strict liability for prevention and remediation of environmental damage to ‘biodiversity’, water and land from specified activities and remediation of environmental damage for all other activities through fault or negligence.The Environmental Liability Directive is now implemented in England and Wales. In Scotland The Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009 came into force on 24 June 2009.
|Developers: get environmental advice on your planning proposals||Natural England, the Environment Agency and Defra have produced a guide advising developers to consult the Environment Agency, the Marine Management Organisation or Natural England (‘the agencies’) early in the planning process for environmental advice on relevant planning applications. They’ll tell you about environmental issues and help you to deal with them. You must consult the Marine Management Organisation if the project is on the coast (eg it involves slipways, jetties and dredging). More information available here.|
|Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for England and Wales:||
Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for England and Wales, which promotes an integrated approach to the management of coastal areas in England and Wales, sets out the Government’s vision for the process of coastal management, objectives and future actions to achieve the vision, and briefly explains how all the changes currently being taken forward will work together in coastal areas.
Offshore Directive – Consultation (Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations):
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and HSE have undertaken an extensive consultation programme on the proposals to transpose the offshore Directive into UK law and on other relevant matters, including establishing an offshore competent authority.
The consultation document is still available from the UK Government website
|Ten Year Health Check for UK’s most important bird sites||The JNCC has submitted a review of the important UK bird species status with respect to the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated to protect them.|
|The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Wales) Regulations SI 2016/58||The Welsh Government launched a consultation into proposed changes to how EIA applies to Town and Country Planning which implements Directive 2011/92/EU, the EIA Directive. The consultation is scheduled to conclude on the 11th November 2016.More information is available here.|