Environmental impact assessments—key points

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

  • Environmental impact assessments—key points
  • Purpose
  • Legislation and guidance
  • When EIA is required
  • Schedule 1 and schedule 2 projects
  • Voluntary EIA
  • Development covered by the EIA Regulations
  • EIA orders and permissions
  • Planning conditions can indicate need for EIA
  • Pre-commencement conditions
  • More...

Environmental impact assessments—key points


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

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) in England, and

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

together the ‘EIA Regulations’.

The EIA Regulations transpose into English and Welsh law the changes made by Archived Directive 2014/52/EU to Archived Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, in so far as they govern town and country planning matters.

Derived from EU law, the EIA Regulations were made pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), which was repealed from 31 January 2020 (Exit Day) by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018).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 the ECA 1972 was subject to specific savings provisions in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, to allow for the operation of the

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