Following the European Commission's proposal, the European Parliament and the Council have adopted an amendment of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. Its objective is to simplify the rules for assessing potential impacts of projects on the environment. The newly amended legislation will provide better protection for the environment, while reducing the administrative burdens resulting from European Union law. Read more…
The EIA Directive aims to ensure that any significant environmental impacts associated with a project are addressed before the project is approved. The Directive also ensures the involvement of the environmental authorities and the public in the environmental decision-making process.
The amended approach focuses on risks and challenges that have emerged since the original legislation came into force 25 years ago. More attention is devoted to areas such as resource efficiency, climate change and disaster prevention, which are now more adequately reflected in the assessment process.
The main amendments specify that Member States must simplify their assessment procedures including the screening procedure to determine whether an EIA is required or not, introducing more stringent timeframes for conducting assessments and the duration of public consultations, and that the quality and content of EIA reports be improved and made clearer for the public. The amendments also ensure that if projects do involve significant adverse impacts on the environment, developers will be obliged to take steps to avoid, or reduce such impacts.
Member States are mandated to apply these rules from 15 May 2017 at the latest. They also need to notify the Commission of the national legislation adopted to comply with the Directive.
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