In 2014, Nicholas Pearson Associates contributed to a consultation exercise held by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) on the Government’s proposal to amend the EIA screening thresholds for urban and residential development. The proposed changes came from a perceived problem of the time and cost in dealing with both unnecessary screening reports and too many projects requiring EIA.
Developments outside ‘sensitive areas’ which fall under the thresholds set out in Schedule 2 of the EIA regulations cannot normally require an EIA to be conducted.
The consultation highlighted the risk that raising thresholds would remove the requirement for EIA regarding development within small sites which could still result in significant environmental effects. This resulted in a numerical dwelling threshold being applied.
The proposed new thresholds are:
• Increasing the screening threshold for residential development from 0.5 ha to 5 ha or 150 or more dwellings, including where there is up to 1 ha of non-residential urban development;
• Raising the threshold for other urban development from 0.5 ha to 1 ha; and
• Raising the threshold for industrial estate development from 0.5 ha to 5 ha.
Regulations will be set out in early 2015 bringing these changes into effect.
As members of the IEMA Quality Mark registration scheme, and with IEMA Registered EIA Practitioners, our team can advise clients on EIA from the outset of a project, during feasibility studies, EIA Screening, Scoping, ES preparation and review.
Government’s response to the consultation exercise: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/392443/Government_response_to_the_technical_consultation_on_environmental_impact_assessment_thresholds.pdf