Amending EU Directive 2014/52/EU: Implications for EIA screening determinations / scoping opinions
This Directive came into force on 15th May 2016. Although not yet transposed into Irish legislation, Circular letter 1/2017 issued by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG) sets out the transitional arrangements in advance of the commencement of the transposing legislation.
As any section 7 EIA screening determination / scoping opinion request will be lodged after the coming into effect of the new amending Directive, An Bord Pleanála will, notwithstanding the current absence of transposing Irish Regulations, seek to implement the 2014 Directive within its existing administrative / legislative powers. This will have implications for both screening and scoping in terms of information provided by the prospective applicant and An Bord Pleanála’s conclusions (see bullet points below describing a number of the changes).
Prospective applicants should have regard to, and incorporate the amended provisions relating to EIA as set out in Directive 2014/52/EU insofar as relevant to any EIA related request made pursuant to section 7.
Some of the key changes are set out below (in brief). However, the list below is not intended to be a complete analysis of the changes made by the Directive to the EIA process.
- Reference to EIS should read ‘EIAR’
- Articles 4(4), 5 and 6 amend the procedure for screening determinations in regard to information to be provided by the developer. This is set out in Annex IIA. Proposed mitigation measures to avoid or prevent what might otherwise have been significant adverse effects on the environment from the proposed development can be provided.
- In making the screening determination the criteria to consider are set out in Annex III. (Note changes / references for example to risk of major accidents or disasters and risk to human health). The Board will state the main reasons and considerations in regard to this determination having regard to the criteria in Annex III
- Under Article 3(1) the factors to be identified, described and assessed in the EIA have been amended with ‘population and human health’ replacing ‘human beings’, ‘biodiversity’ replacing ‘flora and fauna’ and a new factor ‘land’ alongside ‘soil, water, air and climate’. Article 3(2) also refers to effects deriving from vulnerability of the project to risks of major accidents and / or disasters.