Why an environmental impact assessment report is so important

October 10, 2023

EU legislation requires that EU member states complete an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for certain projects, plans and programmes before they can be given the go-ahead by their local authority.

What is Environmental Impact Assessment?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process of examining the anticipated environmental effects of a proposed project – from the consideration of environmental effects at design stage, through consultation and the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). The aim is to make stakeholders and authorities fully aware of the likely environmental effects of a proposed development prior to planning permission being granted.

What is an Environmental Impact Assessment Report?

An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is a report of the effects, if any, that the proposed project would have on the environment. The EIAR will be evaluated by the planning authority and the subsequent decision will be made as to whether the project should be permitted to proceed.

The EIAR is critical to decision making

The interrelationships between a development and the environment are complex. The Environmental Impact Assessment process and resulting EIAR aims to clarify and shed light on these intricacies.

The EIAR will not make the decision itself as to the impacts, positive or negative, of a proposed development on the environment, but it is a valuable and vital tool in this process.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Report in planning applications

Sometimes, even when not legally required, the County Council in question can ask a developer for an EIAR if they have concerns that the development could have a significant effect on the environment. The EIAR must contain an analysis of the likely effects (both positive and negative) of a proposed development on the environment.

This should describe the likely impacts on:

  • People
  • Flora
  • Fauna
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Air
  • Landscape
  • Cultural heritage

The EIAR should also describe how the developer proposes to deal with any of the negative effects outlined and must include a non-technical summary.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ireland has published guidelines on the information to be contained in an Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

It is not possible to get outline planning permission for developments covered by the EIA. The notices about the application for planning permission must include the fact that an EIAR is available. The local authority’s weekly list of planning applications must also identify those applications involving an EIAR.

You may get a copy of any EIAR used in a planning application from the respective County Council and can comment on it in the same way as any other aspect of a planning application.

Metec can provide input for Environmental Impact Assessment Reports

As a consultancy with advanced knowledge and expertise in green building, we can provide input to planning consultants in their preparation of the EIAR, consulting on mechanical, electrical and sustainability design considerations as well as daylight, sunlight and overshadowing.

Our dedicated sustainability team has all of the necessary qualifications and experience to consult with you on the Environmental Impact Assessment of your project and provide consultancy in the preparation of a comprehensive and concise Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

If you would like to know more environmentally conscious and responsible building design and the benefits of sustainable design, get in touch with Scott Caldwell, Head of Sustainability at Metec, today.

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