Friday, 14 June 2013

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) UPDATES





IEMA launched its position on proposed revisions to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive in April, after a series of 2013 member events. 

IEMA’s position recognises the need for mandatory scoping. However, it calls for changes to article 5 (on scoping) to create a developer-led process based on pre-application consultation. By contrast, the European Commission is proposing that planning authorities lead on determining scoping decisions. 

IEMA has been promoting its position to the government and has met officials from the communities and local government department, which is leading the negotiation on the revision for the UK at the European council. 

IEMA has also put its views to members of the European parliament, the EU committee of the regions and the UK’s devolved administrations, as well as other interested parties. 

The Institute ran a series of EIA update workshops around the country in early May to inform members about the position and will continue to track developments in the EU parliament and council. 




IEMA Workshops 

The IEMA workshops on updating the EIA Directive also provided details on the recently published third edition of the Guidelines for landscape and visual impact assessment (GLVIA3) and provided nearly a dozen EIA Quality Mark case studies. The presentations from the workshops can be found here

IEMA and the Landscape Institute have published the third edition of their best-practice guide on assessing the landscape and visual impacts of developments. 

Alongside updating advice to include developments in environmental impact assessment (EIA) policy and practices over the last 11 years, such as adoption of the European landscape convention, the revised guide features an expanded chapter on cumulative effects assessment and new advice on presentation. 

The new edition, which is sponsored by English Heritage, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales, also places greater emphasis on collaborating with stakeholders during LVIAs and, in particular, the role EIA professionals can play. 

The guide highlights how EIA practitioners can ensure that the most relevant assessment principles and approaches are being used, and offer guidance in setting out the context of the development and the receiving environment. 




EIA In The UK 

  • England: despite a 20 March deadline set by the Treasury, the communities and local government department has failed to launch its planned consultation on the EIA regulatory guidance which will replace DETR Circular 02/99. IEMA understands this consultation will not launch until the summer. 
  • Scotland: new Scottish government guidance on EIA practice, to replace PAN58, was developed in 2012. However, the document has not been published and there is, as yet, no clear date for launch. 
  • Wales: IEMA understands that the long-awaited consultation on the Welsh government’s plans to replace the Town and Country Planning EIA (England & Wales) Regulations 1999 with an updated and consolidated set of Welsh regulations will be issued in June. 


New European Guidance 

In early April, the European Commission launched two documents, entitled: Guidance on integrating climate change and biodiversity into EIA and Guidance on integrating climate change and biodiversity into SEA. The first references IEMA’s principles on considering climate change adaptation in EIA

IEMA will devote the EIA Quality Mark lunchtime webinar on 30 May to presentations focused on disseminating the key messages from both guidance documents. The European Commission has also updated its EIA of projects: rulings of the Court of Justice, which includes key EIA case law up to March 2013. 

The document is a useful reference for practitioners and sets out over-arching principles of EIA case law. It also provides details on rulings related to the EIA Directive and its annexes. All three documents can be downloaded from here

— Sources: Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) & European Commission. 


HF

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