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Training package on EU Environmental Assessment Law – Focus on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directives

Module 2: Focus on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The process of an EIA: Projects under the EIA Directive - Purpose and scope

The primary purpose of the EIA Directive is enshrined in its recitals. First, the co-legislators stipulate that the Directive is to comply with the environmental aims provided by Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, namely the precautionary and the pollution pays principles, by ensuring that effects on the environment should be taken into account at the earliest possible stage in all the technical planning and decision-making processes. (More information: Recital 2 of the EIA Directive.)
Second, the purpose of carrying out factually based assessments on the environmental impacts of public and private projects is established. (More information: Recital 7 of the EIA Directive.) Third, the co-legislators emphasise the need for active involvement of the public in decision-making and the need to provide early and effective opportunities to meet that objective. In relation to that, access to judicial or other procedures for challenging the substantive or procedural legality of decisions, acts or omissions is also mentioned. (More information: Recitals 16 to 21 of the EIA Directive.)

The EIA Directive renders a large variety of projects under its scope: agriculture, different industries (energy, mining, chemicals, food processing, etc.) as well as infrastructure projects (road and rail, airports, pipelines, high voltage cables, urban development projects, waterworks) and even certain touristic projects (ski slopes, permanent campsites or caravan parks) feature on the lists of either Annex I or Annex II of the EIA Directive.


Developed by the Academy of European Law (ERA)