EIA and Public Participation Legislation

Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters 1998 The Aarhus Convention was signed in June 1998 to grant the public rights regarding information access, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes on matters concerning the local, national and transboundary environment; focusing on interactions between the public and public authorities. The Convention entered into force on 30 October 2001.
OSPAR Recommendation 2010/5 on the assessment of environmental impacts on threatened and/or declining species When assessments of environmental impacts of human activities that may affect the marine environment of the OSPAR maritime area are prepared, Contracting Parties should ensure they take account of the relevant species and habitats on the OSPAR List of threatened and/or declining species and habitats (OSPAR Agreement 2008-6). The Recommendation was implemented by means of administrative action.
Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Kyiv, 2003)  The Kiev (SEA) Protocol, which entered into force on 11 July 2010, requires its Parties to evaluate the environmental consequences of their official draft plans and programmes. Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is undertaken much earlier in the decision-making process than project environmental impact assessment (EIA), and it is therefore seen as a key tool for sustainable development. The Protocol also provides for extensive public participation in government decision-making in numerous development sectors.

For updated legislation following Brexit, please refer to the pdf document downloadable from the Home & News Page.

Data Protection Act 1998 The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 seeks to strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the sometimes competing interests of those with legitimate reasons for using personal information. The DPA gives individuals certain rights regarding information held about them. It places obligations on those who process information (data controllers) while giving rights to those who are the subject of that data (data subjects). The 1998 DPA came into force early in 1999.
Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 as amended These regulations apply to Scotland only and outline which developments require environmental assessments and the necessary procedures when producing an environmental report.
Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives the public a general right of access to information held by or on behalf of public authorities, promoting a culture of openness and accountability across the public sector. The full provisions of the act came into force on 1 January 2005.
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 The 2002 Act provides similar provision to the 2000 Act however in Scotland Central Government Departments are regulated under the UK Act however the Scottish Executive and its Agencies are regulated under the Scottish Act and came into force at the beginning of 2005. Departments with jurisdiction in England and Wales are regulated under the UK Act. The Act came into force in Scotland on 31 December 2005.
Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): An Overview The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published guidance which provides an explanation of the SEA process.
Pipelines Act 1962 The Pipelines Act 1962 was introduced to regulate and facilitate the construction and safe operation of pipelines. The Act received Royal Assent on 1 August 1962.
Planning Act of 2008 The Planning Act of 2008, Chapter 29 establishes the Infrastructure Planning Commission and makes provision about its functions; the authorisation of projects for the development of nationally significant infrastructure; to make provision about town and country planning; to make provision about the imposition of a Community Infrastructure Levy; and for connected purposes. Act was introduced and implemented into law in November 2008.
Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006, which received Royal Assent on 20 December 2006, 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 Environmental Impact Assessment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 Minor changes to EIA Regulations including Marine Works.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2009 The EIA Directive aims to ensure that the authorities giving consent for projects make decisions with full knowledge of significant effects on the environment. In Scotland the EIA Directive is implemented through various consent regimes, including the Town and Country Planning system. This legislation makes amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 as a result of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2006, and associated secondary legislation and came into force on 3 August 2009. Changes include; removal of outline planning permission and, changes to notifying environmental statements from the applicant to the planning authority.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations of 1999, transpose the EIA Directive as amended into Scottish planning law. The Regulations set out the statutory procedures, list the types of project to which they apply, specify the information to be contained in an environmental statement, list the consultation bodies and provide criteria for deciding whether projects are likely to have significant environmental effects. These Regulations came into force on 1 June 2011.
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 The Directive on Public Access to Information implements the first part of the Aarhus Convention into EU law and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 implement this Directive in the UK. The Regulations, which came into force on 1 January 2005, give a statutory right of access to environmental information held by public authorities and organisations with public authority responsibilities.
The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (EIR) 2005, which came into force on 1 January 2005, serves to implement EC Directive 2003/4/EC in Scotland and to establish an access regime allowing the public to request information from Scottish public authorities. The EIR 2004 form part of a freedom of information suite of legislation and the Freedom of Information Act, together with the Environmental Information Regulations and the Data Protection Act, are now part of the same whole. The Environmental Information Regulations providing access to environmental information, the Data Protection Act providing access to personal information of which the applicant is the subject and the Freedom of Information Act enabling access to all other information.
The Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2010 Under certain circumstances these regulations allow the response time to a request for information to be extended from 20 to 60 days. These regulations came into force on 17 November 2010.
The Gas Transporter Pipe-line Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 These Regulations, which came into force on 20 August 2007, amend the Gas Transporter Pipe-line Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999 (the 1999 Regulations) and streamline the previous regime.
The Marine Licensing (Pre-application Consultation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 Marine Licensing (Pre-application Consultation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 requires marine license applicants intent on undertaking certain classes of marine activity to carry out a pre-application consultation process. These Regulations came into force on 1st January 2014 and apply to Scotland only. From 6 April 2014, certain activities will be subject to a public pre-application consultation. Activities affected will be large projects with the potential for substantial impacts on the environment, local communities and other legitimate uses of the sea. This new requirement will allow local communities, environmental groups and other interested parties to comment on any proposed development in its early stages, before an application for a marine licence is even submitted.
The Marine Works and Marine Licensing (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 These Regulations came into force on 20 May 2020 and apply to Scotland only. These modifications remove the requirements to make information or documentation available for inspection in a public place provide hard copies of EIA reports and hold public events.
The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 These Regulations apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland and extend to Scotland in relation to certain reserved matters in the Scottish inshore region and the Scottish offshore region. These Regulations make provision for environmental impact assessments to be carried out prior to consenting of various activities in UK waters and seas, including any area submerged at mean high water spring tide and the water of every estuary, arm of the sea, river or channel where the tide flows at mean high water spring tide.  These regulations transpose into UK legislation the amendments to the EU EIA Directive 2011/92/EU made by EU Directive 2014/52/EU.
The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 These regulations apply in the Scotland Marine Area only. They replace Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 and transpose into Scottish legislation the amendments to the EU EIA Directive 2011/92/EU made by EU Directive 2014/52/EU.
The Marine Works and Marine Licensing (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 These Regulations make temporary modifications to the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 and the Marine Licensing (Pre-application Consultation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013, as a result of COVID-19. These modifications alter requirements to make information or documentation available for inspection in a public place, to provide hard copies of EIA reports, and to hold public events.
The National Scenic Areas (Scotland) Regulations 2008 The regulations (Scotland only) make minor amendments for certain projects requiring an EIA and came into force on 20 June 2008.
The Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Unloading and Storage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2020

These regulations revoke and replace the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipelines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations SI 1999/360 in order to consolidate, clarify and simplify the provisions of those Regulations.

These Regulations:

  • simplify aspects of the EIA legislation regime for offshore projects. For example it introduces the possibility to submit a draft EIA to OPRED for the purposes of an informal review before engaging the formal EIA process.
  • amend provisions required to fulfil the legal commitments arising from judicial reviews which include access to environmental impact assessment (EIA) information;
  • incorporates a provision to undertake inspection and investigation in relation to any offence committed by a developer;
  • correct existing offence provisions to ensure that the appropriate competent authorities’ responsibilities are reflected;
  • introduce changes to civil sanctions for regulatory breaches;
  • introduce changes to the fee provisions for administrative and technical services.
The Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipelines (Environmental Impact Assessment and other miscellaneous provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 These regulations implement: Directive 2014/52/EU(a) (the ‘EIA Directive’ as it applies offshore); an obligation under Article 6 of Council Directive 92/43/EEC(b) (the ‘Habitats Directive’ as it applies to offshore oil and gas activities); minor corrections to the Offshore Petroleum Licencing (Offshore Safety Directive) (Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/315).
The Pipeline Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2000 Proposed onshore pipelines (except those of public gas transporters, the government and water companies – see below) which are more than 10 miles (16 km) long require a Pipeline Construction Authorisation (PCA) from the Secretary of State, under Section 1 of the Pipelines Act 1962. Such applications may be subject to EIA by virtue of the Pipeline Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2000. These Regulations entered into force on 1 September 2000. The Act applies to pipelines on land, which includes the foreshore (between low and high water marks) and partially enclosed areas of the sea such as bays, estuaries and harbours.