Environmental impact assessment: meaning of ‘significant effect’
Produced in partnership with Heather Sargent of Landmark Chambers
Environmental impact assessment: meaning of ‘significant effect’

The following Planning practice note produced in partnership with Heather Sargent of Landmark Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental impact assessment: meaning of ‘significant effect’
  • Introduction
  • Context
  • Extent of information required
  • The meaning of ‘likely’
  • The test to be applied
  • Mitigation measures at the screening stage
  • Where the development project is an integral part of a more substantial development
  • Guidance
  • Standard of review

Introduction

EIA is an assessment of a project's likely significant environmental effects. It enables environmental factors to be given due weight, along with economic or social factors, when planning applications are being considered, as well as the scope for reducing them. It also gives the public and other consultees opportunities to participate in the decision-making procedures relating to projects affecting the environment. From 16 May 2017 onwards, EIA in respect of town and country planning matters is governed by:

  1. the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 (English EIA Regulations), SI 2017/571 in England, and

  2. the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2017 (Welsh EIA Regulations), SI 2017/567 in Wales

together with the 'EIA Regulations'.

Derived from EU law, the EIA Regulations were made pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), which was repealed from 31 January 2020 (Exit Day) by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018). However, the repeal of ECA 1972 was subject to specific savings provisions in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, to allow for the operation of the implementation period in UK domestic law, ending on 31 December 2020, during which the UK continued to be treated by the EU as a Member State for many purposes, and continued to be bound by EU law. EU(W)A 2018 also provided for EU-derived domestic

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