Environmental Impact Assessment is an integral part of the planning system. The EIA process allows for the environmental effects of certain development projects to be understood and mitigated as part of the decision making process. Our Chartered Town Planning team includes Practitioner and Associate Members of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) with a thorough understanding of the EIA process. Our team provide sensible and informed advice to ensure a robust planning consent that brings positive environmental effects without compromising our client’s commercial and operational objectives.
Batcheller Monkhouse Skills:
- Screening and Scoping Requests
- Full EIA coordination service drawing on a database of tried and tested environmental specialists
- Preparation of Environmental Statements and Non-Technical Summaries
- Socio-Economic Assessments
- Health Impact Assessments
- Peer review of Environmental Statements
Batcheller Monkhouse’s EIA team is unusual in combining planning expertise with specialist environmental knowledge. This means we take a pragmatic approach to balancing the two priorities of commercial viability and environmental protection. In addition, we check that planning authorities carry out their duties correctly in relation to EIA procedures to ensure a robust permission at the end of the process.
New EIA Regulations came into force on 16th May 2017 and included a number of changes likely to affect major development proposals which are not yet the subject of a submitted planning application. The most significant changes are:
- Changes to the screening and scoping phases of the EIA where the need for and scope of the EIA is determined.
- The list of effects to be assessed is to be extended to include population and human health; biodiversity; land, soil, water, air and climate; material assets; and cultural heritage.
- Planning authorities will be required to ensure that mitigation measures are actually implemented and monitoring put in place. This will effectively extend the life of the EIA beyond decision-making and give the requirements teeth.
- A planning authority’s determination of an EIA planning application needs to be based on information that is up-to-date at the time the decision is made. This would seem to be a reasonable expectation but could prove problematic and potentially costly, given many surveys have a limited shelf-life and the determination period for EIA developments can often be protracted.
- Environmental Statements must be prepared by ‘a person who is competent to do so’. The draft regulations deliberately do not define who this would be beyond proposing that the EIA report must contain “the name of the person who prepared the EIA report, details of that person’s competence to do so (for example the person’s qualifications or experience) and a statement signed by the developer that he/she thinks the person is competent to do so.”
The guidelines explain, “We have not sought to define ‘competent’ any further, both because it is considered to be a sufficiently clear term, but also because it is likely to depend on the individual circumstance of each case.” However, membership of a professional body such as the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is one incontrovertible way to prove the competence of the individual preparing the EIA.
Not only is Batcheller Monkhouse a corporate member of IEMA but our EIA team comprises practitioner and associate members. This is important to establish at the start of a project as planning is a lengthy process and you do not want to discover a year down the line that your ‘expert’ is not considered to have the necessary experience or professional qualifications.