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Revised EIA Directive

On the 15 May 2014, the revised Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU) entered into force. This new Directive aims to simplify the rules for assessing a project’s impact on the environment, reduce the administrative burden, and increase the level of environmental protection. The intention is to make decisions on public and private investments more sound, predictable and sustainable in the longer term.

Directive 2014/52/EU requires greater attention to threats and challenges that have emerged over the past years. The assessment process must therefore give more attention to aspects such as climate change, resource efficiency, and disaster prevention.

In brief, the revised EIA Directive:

  • Requires Member States to simplify their different environmental assessment procedures;
  • Introduces timeframes for the different stages of environmental assessments:
    • 90 days for screening decisions (although extensions are possible)
    • A minimum of 30 days for public consultations
  • Simplifies the screening procedure (which determines whether an EIA is required) through updated screening criteria
  • Requires EIA reports to be more understandable to the public, especially in relation to assessments of the current state of the environment and alternatives to the proposal
  • Requires competent authorities to prove their objectivity to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Requires that the grounds for development consent decisions are clear and more transparent for the public. Such final decisions must also be taken within a “reasonable period of time”
  • Obliges developers to do the necessary to avoid, prevent or reduce significant adverse effects on the environment. Member states needs to ensure that mitigation and compensation measures are implemented.
  • Requires procedures to be put in place to monitor the significant adverse effects on the environment resulting from the construction and operation of a project.

The revised EIA Directive needs to be transposed into local legislation by 16 May 2017.

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