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Environmental assessment is a procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before the decisions are made. Environmental assessment can be undertaken for individual projects, such as a dam, motorway, airport or factory, on the basis of Directive 2011/92/EU (known as 'Environmental Impact Assessment' – EIA Directive) or for public plans or programmes on the basis of Directive 2001/42/EC (known as 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' – SEA Directive). The common principle of both Directives is to ensure that plans, programmes and projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are made subject to an environmental assessment, prior to their approval or authorisation. Consultation with the public is a key feature of environmental assessment procedures.
The Directives on Environmental Assessment aim to provide a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation of projects, plans and programmes with a view to reduce their environmental impact. They ensure public participation in decision-making and thereby strengthen the quality of decisions. The projects and programmes co-financed by the EU (Cohesion, Agricultural and Fisheries Policies) have to comply with the EIA and SEA Directives to receive approval for financial assistance. Hence the Directives on Environmental Assessment are crucial tools for sustainable development.
This website provides information on the European Union's laws on Environmental Impact Assessment of public and private projects (including its review) and the Environmental Assessment of public plans and programmes together with other related information.
Group of EIA/SEA National Experts
The Commission expert group of EIA/SEA national experts brings together environmental experts from national administrations and meets twice per year. The role of the Group is to provide advice and expertise to the European Commission and its departments in relation to the implementation of the EIA and SEA Directives, the preparation of legislative proposals and policy initiatives, as well as coordination and cooperation with Member States and stakeholders in that regard.
The members of the Group are nominated by the Member States. More information on the meetings of the Commission expert group of EIA/SEA national experts can be found here.
The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in the light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.