Environmental impact assessments and Development Consent Orders
Environmental impact assessments and Development Consent Orders

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental impact assessments and Development Consent Orders
  • Context
  • Legislation and guidance
  • What is EIA development?
  • Screening
  • Environmental statement (ES)
  • Scoping
  • Cumulative effects assessment
  • Preliminary Environmental Information (PEI)
  • Pre-application consultation
  • More...


The Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008) sets out a development consent regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) in the fields of energy, transport, water, waste water, and waste.

Applications for development consent orders (DCOs) are decided in accordance with National Policy Statements (NPSs), which set out the national policy in relation to NSIPs. See Practice Notes: Permission for nationally significant infrastructure projects and National Policy Statements.

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a process whereby a project’s likely significant environmental effects are assessed and taken into account in the process of determining whether development consent should be granted. It ensures environmental impacts are given due weight, along with economic or social factors, and allows the public to participate in environmental decision-making procedures. EIA is required in certain circumstances in the DCO process in order to discharge the duty under Archived Directive 2011/92/EU of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.

Legislation and guidance

The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, SI 2017/572 (the EIA Regulations) set out the procedures for determining whether a proposed development requires the applicant to undertake an EIA, and the EIA process that must be followed if it does.

Derived from EU law, the EIA Regulations were made pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), which was repealed from 31 January

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