EIA Directive 85/337 EEC as amended by 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC

The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive introduced a Europe-wide procedure to ensure that environmental consequences of projects are identified and assessed before authorisation is given. The public can give its opinion and all results are taken into account in the authorisation procedure of the project. The public is informed of the decision afterwards.

It has become an integral and vital part of the planning of development projects, and requires the submission of an EIA with the application for development consent. This Directive applies to the assessment of the environmental effects of public and private projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. It affects the execution of "construction works, other installations or schemes and for the interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape including the extraction of mineral resources".[1]

The Directive establishes a process for the examination of the potential environmental impacts of a proposed development, requiring the appropriate planning authority to adopt the necessary regulatory scheme and to establish mechanisms to preserve existing habits and ecosystems.

The developer is required to present and compile an environmental statement about the major likely environmental impacts. This information will necessarily include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • A description of the project comprising information on the site, design and size of the project.
  • A description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects.
  • The data required to identify and assess the main effects which the project is likely to have on the environment.
  • An outline of the main alternatives studied by the developer and an indication of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account the environmental effects.
  • A non-technical summary of the above information.[2]

The environmental statement should incorporate all the necessary facts and detail the environmental impacts relating to the application. The planning authority is required to review the application. The review and all necessary comments must published and must identify any likely challenges of the application are further accommodated through judicial reviews. All these must be taken on board before development consent can be granted and which must also be published.

[1] Article 1 Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 85/337 EEC as amended
[2] Article 5 Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 85/337 EEC as amended Page last updated: 28 April 2010
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