Frequently asked questions

What are the stages of the Environmental impact assessment (EIA) process?

Stage 1 - Screening to determine whether EIA is required is required

The EIA Regulations only apply to certain types of development, and before the Council can request an EIA it must determine whether the proposal is subject to the Regulations and can be classified as ‘EIA development’, and decide whether EIA is required in that particular case. This process is called 'screening' and there are two ways in which it can be applied:

  1. A developer can ask the planning authority to give an EIA screening opinion before the application for planning permission is submitted.
  2. Where a planning application has been submitted without an environmental statement and alternatively no request has been made in the past for a screening opinion, the planning authority has the right to adopt an EIA screening opinion for the proposal, which will determine whether or not the scheme requires EIA.

In either case the planning authority has 3 weeks within which to adopt their EIA screening opinion from the date on which the request was received (for (i) above) or the planning application was deemed to be valid (for (ii) above). In both cases the 3 week period can be extended, if the developer agrees in writing to the extension. Once the screening opinion has been adopted, it is required to be held in a public register for 2 years. The list at the bottom of the page contains all EIA Screening and Scoping Opinions issued in the last two years.

Stage 2: Scoping to determine what information should be covered by an EIA

Where a proposed scheme is determined to be ‘EIA development’, the developer can ask the planning authority for advice on the scope of the information to be gathered during the EIA and to be covered in the Environmental Statement (which reports on the findings of the EIA).

The planning authority has a period of 5 weeks within which to produce an EIA scoping opinion, which can be extended if the developer agrees in writing to the extension. The planning authority is legally required to consult with the Environment Agency, Natural England and English Heritage. Once the scoping opinion has been adopted, it is held in a public register for 2 years, this is available below.

Stage 3: Reviewing the adequacy of environmental statements

Once an environmental statement has been submitted with a planning application the planning authority can request additional information if it considers the environmental statement to be inadequate. The adequacy of environmental statements is determined by comparison with the content requirements of the EIA Regulations.

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