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Environmental impact assessment

When is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required?

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (1999) set out the circumstances in which an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required.

Environmental Statements must be provided for any development that falls within schedule 1 of the Environment Impact (Assessment) regulations 1999 and for some schedule 2 projects.

Where EIA is required, an Environmental Statement in the form set out in Schedule 4 to the regulations must be provided.  

Where EIA is not required, the local planning authority may still require environmental information to be provided.

An applicant may request a ‘screening opinion’ (i.e. to determine whether EIA is required) from the planning authority before submitting the application.

Note: applications with an environmental statement have to be dealt with by a different procedure and are likely to take longer. The legislation allows a period of 16 weeks for a decision to be reached.