Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a key feature of the planning system for larger and environmentally riskier types of development, such as large housing applications or opencast coal mines. It is an assessment which is meant to help us understand the potential environmental impacts of development proposals. Unfortunately, both the process and outcome of EIA can be complex and confusing, leaving local communities unsure how a development might affect them or how to get involved.
This guide is intended as a broad introduction to EIA. The material is drawn from regulations, official guidance and case law and is designed to help you understand what EIA is, in what circumstances it should happen and how to interact with the process. It is accompanied by a separate case law annex.
The guide is not intended to provide guidance on how to prepare an EIA nor is it legal advice. For example, it does not explain how to prepare an ecological survey or landscape and visual impact assessment. The overall theme of this guide is to encourage you to engage in the EIA process. We should not assume council planning experts always know best since, by ignoring local knowledge, decisions could have disastrous consequences for people living near development sites.
Examples of Schedule 1 projects (where EIA is always needed) include:
• major power plants
• chemical works
• long distance railway lines
• waste disposal incineration
• major road schemes (motorways)
• major wastewater treatment works.
Examples of Schedule 2 Projects (where EIA may be needed) can include:
• quarries and opencast mines
• deep drilling
• surface industrial installations (including hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
• urban development projects (housing and shopping centres)
• some intensive agricultural purposes
• surface storage of fossil fuel
• foundries and forges
• coke ovens
• chemical production
• manufacture of dairy products
• installations for the slaughter of animals
• rubber production
• wastewater treatment plants
• holiday villages
• golf courses
• large scale/groups of wind turbines.
Here is the full Friends of the Earth Guide
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This Web site is for those who love the South Hams “The jewel in the crown of Devon” and who wish to protect and enhance the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.