The EIA Directive (85/337/EEC) is in force since 1985 and applies to a wide range of defined public and private projects, which are defined in Annexes I and II:
Discretion of Member States (screening): for projects listed in Annex II, the national authorities have to decide whether an EIA is needed. This is done by the "screening procedure", which determines the effects of projects on the basis of thresholds/criteria or a case by case examination. However, the national authorities must take into account the criteria laid down in Annex III. The projects listed in Annex II are in general those not included in Annex I (railways, roads waste disposal installations, waste water treatment plants), but also other types such as urban development projects, flood-relief works, changes of Annex I and II existing projects…).
Directive 2009/31/EC amended the Annexes I and II of the EIA Directive, by adding projects related to the transport, capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The initial Directive of 1985 and its three amendments have been codified by DIRECTIVE 2011/92/EU of 13 December 2011.
The EIA procedure can be summarized as follows: the developer may request the competent authority to say what should be covered by the EIA information to be provided by the developer (scoping stage); the developer must provide information on the environmental impact (EIA report – Annex IV); the environmental authorities and the public (and affected Member States) must be informed and consulted; the competent authority decides, taken into consideration the results of consultations. The public is informed of the decision afterwards and can challenge the decision before the courts.