Environmental impact assessments—key points
Environmental impact assessments—key points

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental impact assessments—key points
  • Purpose
  • Legislation and guidance
  • When EIA is required
  • Stages of EIA
  • Procedure for submitting an environmental statement
  • Environmental considerations
  • The Rochdale Envelope
  • Challenging an EIA decision—discretion to quash
  • EIA and the Habitats Directive
  • more

Coronavirus (COVID-19): This Practice Note contains guidance on subjects potentially impacted by the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak (see: Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on EIA). For further updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications for lawyers, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Planning and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content. For further guidance, see Brexit and EIA below, Practice Note: Brexit—the implications for English and Welsh planning law and practice or visit the Planning area of the Brexit toolkit.


An environmental impact assessment (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, and provides opportunities to reduce them.

It also gives the public and other consultees opportunities to participate in the decision making procedures.

Legislation and guidance

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, SI 2017/571 (the English EIA Regulations)