Get connected

You are here:

You are here


Environment impact assessments (EIA): the five stages and key actions

Environmental impact assessments were created to promote a safe environment, and sound, sustainable development, by measuring the environmental impact likely to be caused by projects. Here, IIRSM Partner Barbour takes us through the EIA procedure and key actions for the risk manager.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process aimed at improving environmental protection by preventing, reducing or offsetting negative environmental effects and enhancing positive effects.

The EIA is a tool used to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in the planning and design of a new project. It can help find ways of reducing adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present predictions and options to decision-makers.

Public bodies, referred to as ‘competent authorities’, are provided with a written statement about the project’s effects on the environment that are likely to be significant (the EIA Report). An EIA enables environmental factors to be given equal consideration with economic and social factors when considering sustainable development. Comments are gathered from the public, statutory environmental organisations, local and national groups. An Environmental Statement (ES) is a document stating the findings of the EIA and is submitted with the application.

Where the EIA procedure reveals that a project will have an adverse impact on the environment, it does not necessarily mean that permission will be refused.

The five stages

There are five stages to the EIA procedure:

1 Screening

Determining whether a proposed project falls within the remit of the Regulations, whether it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment and therefore requires an assessment.

2 Scoping

Determining the extent of issues to be considered in the assessment and reported in the Environmental Statement. The applicant can ask the local planning authority for its opinion on what information needs to be included (which is called a ‘scoping opinion’).

3 Preparing an Environmental Statement (ES)

Where it is decided that an assessment is required, the applicant must prepare and submit an ES. The ES must include at least the information reasonably required to assess the likely significant environmental effects of the development listed in regulation 18(3) and comply with regulation 18(4). The applicant must ensure that competent experts prepare it. A statement must accompany the ES from the developer outlining the relevant expertise or qualifications of such experts.

4 Making a planning application and consultation

The ES (and the application for development to which it relates) must be publicised electronically and by public notice. The statutory ‘consultation bodies’ and the public must be given an opportunity to give their views about the proposed development and the ES.

5 Decision making

The ES, together with any other information which is relevant to the decision, and any comments and representations made on it, must be taken into account by the local planning authority and/or the Secretary of State in deciding whether or not to grant consent for the development. The public must be informed of the decision and the main reasons for it both electronically and by public notice.

Key Actions

  • Identify activities likely to generate impacts and identify resources and receptors likely to be affected. 

  • Determine pathways linking cause with effect and predict the likely nature, extent and size of any expected changes. 

  • Evaluate the consequences and establish which impacts are significant.

  • Consider: population, human health, biodiversity, soil, water, air and climate, landscape, and cultural heritage and material assets.

Further support

Promotion by Barbour

The Barbour Environment & Energy Module can support you and your organisation with your EIAs. It contains a template legal register for EIAs and a detailed Barbour Guide that summarises the legal requirements, key actions, and detailed information on how to do the job – not just how to comply with the law.

This module also covers hundreds of other topics covering your organisation’s environmental responsibilities. See the features here that make it so comprehensive for you and your EHS team.

To further support you, our partner company at Cedrec are offering a half-day Recharge training course, delivered by one of their expert consultants, which will cover all the main legal Environment requirements you (and your team) need to know. See the agenda and available dates here.

To find out more, get in touch today!

to news