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Tougher EIA Requirements On The Way


As we reported in April 2012, Ireland has been under pressure for some years to fully implement the provisions of the EIA Directive.

A European Court of Justice Decision stated that the provisions of Irish planning legislation under the Planning and Development Act 2000 ‘are different from that, imposed by Article 3 of Directive 85/337 on the competent authority, of carrying out full environmental impact assessment’.

In July 2012 the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government issued draft guidelines for planning authorities on the process of carrying out environmental impact assessment.

The guidelines set out a new assessment procedure in which the Environmental Impact Assessment must be carried out by the planning authority or An Bord Pleanála. The planning authority will now have to prepare an environmental impact assessment report. This report will be based on information provided by the proposer in the EIS, submissions from third parties, internal planning authority data and requests for further information. The report will also have to assess the accuracy of the information submitted and comment on the adequacy of the EIS.

EPA guidance documents regarding the information to be contained in an EIS are still valid.

To date the assessment criteria used to judge the adequacy of the EIA process, and the EIS itself, were not consistently applied across all planning authorities and the process was perceived as a tick box exercise. The draft guidance puts much more emphasis on planning authorities coming up with reasons why they believe that the EIA process has been in accordance with the Directive. This is likely to result in much more rigor being applied to the entire process.,30821,en.pdf