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Home » Living In » Planning » Planning Advice » Before You Apply » Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact Assessment

With a limited number of applications, European legislation requires that the proposal be accompanied by a Environmental Impact Assessment.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1999 categorise certain classes of development into two schedules; the first where an assessment is always required and a second schedule where the requirement depends on certain circumstances.

The first schedule includes, for example, proposals for new oil refineries, nuclear power stations, certain chemical installations and incineration plants for waste disposal.

The second schedule includes large intensive livestock installations (over 500sq m), quarry development, industrial installations for the production of electricity, installation of wind farms where there are more than two turbines, certain infrastructure projects such as railways, airports etc, waste water treatment plants, marinas, holiday villages, permanent camp sites exceeding a hectare, golf courses etc.

In a National Park because the landscape is, by definition, protected, applications for any of the proposals in schedule two will almost always require an Environmental Statement.

Any assessment has to:


  • Fully describe the development
  • Assess the impact that it would have on the flora fauna etc,
  • Detail how the physical characteristics, (emissions, noise, water, vibration etc) would be accommodated within the landscape and what mitigation might be necessary to deal with them
  • Detail what alternative sites have been considered and why they are not suitable
  • Describe what the implications would be if  the development does not take place

If you have been advised by the National Park Authority that an Environmental Assessment should accompany your application then you need to know exactly what that document should cover. In order to find out what is needed you are able to seek a Scoping Opinion.

This Scoping Opinion will set out all the issues and the relationships between them that you need to address.

Scoping

The Scoping Procedure is a formal way of finding out what the Assessment should cover.

The Authority will try to arrange a meeting of all interested parties to which you will be invited to discuss what and why such information is required.

This will be followed up by a formal written response from the Authority. This should then form the basis of your Environmental Assessment.

Some of the issues that you are likely to need to address will require research or survey work over a long period. If for example it is known that there are Bats in the vicinity of the site then you will need to employ someone (generally someone who is specifically licensed) to survey the bats and their habits over a whole year so that the pattern of their behaviour is understood.

It is only by knowing and understanding this information that you are able to mitigate against the impact that your proposal will have on them. It is important to build enough time into your timetable to enable such work to be done.

If you are considering making an application which might require an Environmental Assessment it is unlikely that you will be able to put together all the necessary information on your own. You may need to employ a consultant who is used to dealing with such wide ranging proposals. 

Commenting on applications requiring Environmental Impact Assessments

All application submitted to the Authority with an Environmental Statement are subject to formal publicity procedures to allow any interested party to comment on the proposal.

A Public Notice is published in a local newspaper and a site notice is placed on or near the application site. In some circumstances, individual occupiers of properties close to the development will be notified directly. The public are also able to address the Committee before any decision is made - click on The Committee in the left-hand menu for more information.

If you are concerned about the proposals you are always able to come into the office and examine the documents concerned.