Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
Council Directive 85/336/EC is more commonly known as the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive or EIA Directive.
The EIA Directive aims to protect the environment and the quality of life by ensuring that projects which are likely to have significant environmental effects by virtue of their nature, size or location are subject to an environmental impact assessment before permission is granted.
The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 (as amended) puts into practice the EIA Directive in relation to marine licences.
The Harbour Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999 amends the Harbours Act 1964 to implement the EIA Directive in relation to harbour orders.
We are the appropriate authority for ensuring the requirements of the EIA Directive are met in relation to marine licences and harbour orders. To meet the requirements we must assess the effect projects requiring a marine licence or harbour order will have on the environment and the quality of life where it is likely they will have significant effects. This is called an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Where relevant, this assessment must be undertaken before consent can be given for a project. It begins with the applicant gathering and assessing information about the likely effects of the project and presenting this to us in the form of an environmental statement. We will then consider the environmental statement in determining whether or not consent should be given for the project.
An EIA is a multi-stage process. The main steps are:
- Screening – deciding whether an EIA is required.
- Scoping – deciding the impacts that are to be considered.
- Preparation of the environmental statement.
- Consideration of and consultation on the environmental statement.
Screening is the process by which we determine whether or not a project will be subject to an environmental impact assessment. The applicant will need to prepare a report outlining the project for us to consider.
In screening a project, we may consult other bodies, such as the Environment Agency or local authority.
An EIA is always required for projects of the type listed in Annex I to the EIA Directive. These projects include:
- nuclear power stations
- trading ports and piers which can take vessels over 1350 tonnes.
An EIA may be required for projects of the type listed in Annex II to the EIA Directive if we decide they are likely to have significant effects on the environment. These projects include:
- reclamation of land from the sea
- extraction of minerals by dredging
- installations for the production of electricity
- wind farms
- port and harbour installations not listed in Annex I
- coastal work to combat erosion, for example, dykes, moles and jetties.
Once we have concluded our assessment we will issue a screening opinion stating whether the project has been screened in and requires an EIA, or whether it has been screened out and does not. We will give reasons for our decision.
All screening opinions are published on our public register along with any reports the applicant provides to inform our assessments.
Scoping is the process by which we determine the information required for the environmental statement. The applicant will need to prepare a report outlining the project and its likely effects for us to consider.
In scoping a project, we will always consult other bodies, such as the Environment Agency or local authority.
Once we have concluded our assessment we will issue a scoping opinion outlining what information is required to be included in the environmental statement.
All scoping opinions are published on our public register along with any reports the applicant provides to inform our assessments.
Screening and scoping are commonly carried out at the same time. For this the applicant will need to provide a report to us outlining the project and its likely effects. We will consult other bodies in assessing the report and then issue a joint screening and scoping opinion.
Where it is decided that a project is to go through an environmental impact assessment, the applicant must produce an environmental statement.
The environmental statement must give details of the project and identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect effects of the project on:
- human beings, fauna and flora
- soil, water, air, climate and landscape
- material assets and the cultural heritage
- the interaction between two or more of the above factors.
The environmental statement should include:
- a description of the development, including in particular:
- a description of the physical characteristics of the whole development and the land-use requirements during the construction and operational phases
- a description of the main characteristics of the production processes, for instance, nature and quantity of the materials used
- an estimate, by type and quantity, of expected residues and emissions (water, air and soil pollution, noise, vibration, light, heat, radiation) resulting from the operation of the proposed project
- an outline of the main alternatives studied by the developer and an indication of the main reasons for this choice, taking into account the environmental effects
- a description of the aspects of the environment likely to be significantly affected by the proposed project, including, in particular, population, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, including the architectural and archaeological heritage, landscape and the inter-relationship between the above factors
- a description of the likely significant effects of the proposed project on the environment resulting from:
- the existence of the project
- the use of natural resources
- the emission of pollutants, the creation of nuisances and the elimination of waste
- a description of the measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and where possible offset any significant adverse effects on the environment
- a non-technical summary of the information provided under the above headings and
- an indication of any difficulties (technical deficiencies or lack of know-how) encountered in compiling the required information.
There is no prescribed form for an environmental statement. One commonly used form is that recommended by The Essex Guide to Environmental Impact Assessment:
- non-technical summary
- method statement
- conclusions of the scoping exercise – the key issues
- description of the project, site and surroundings – including alternatives
- plans and policies context
- assessment of the environmental effects by topic area
- appendices – technical data.
If requested, we may review draft environmental statements before they are submitted to us formally.
The environmental statement must be submitted to us at the time the marine licence or harbour order application is made.
We will place the environmental statement in our public register if possible. Where the environmental statement is too large to be placed on our website we will instead place a notice stating that copies are available on CD or DVD on request.
We will also make the environmental statement available to local authorities, nature conservation bodies and others during our consultation process. We will also invite representations from members of the public.
In most cases we will also consult with our relevant local office and with our technical advisers, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).
We will assess the environmental statement, consultation responses and public representations during our consideration of the application.
If we are satisfied with the likely environmental impact of a project we will issue an environmental impact assessment consent decision. We will then proceed to decide the marine licence or harbour order application.
All environmental statements and environmental impact assessment consent decisions are published in our public register.
Marine Licensing Team
Marine Management Organisation
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0300 123 1032
Fax: 0191 376 2681
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