EIA vs EOR: Where are They Enshrined?
At Temple, we offer a range of environmental services, including assistance with major projects through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. In England, EIAs for the property are governed by Part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and the regulations specified in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 (the ‘2017 Regulations’) apply the EU directive known as the ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Directive’.
It’s important to note that many of the laws in England have been passed via an Act of Parliament, which originally stemmed from an EU directive. This means that while it is the Act that has established our legal obligations, those Acts would have been subject to international regulations and requirements prior to passing.
However, since Brexit, the British Government has viewed many Parliamentary Acts enshrined in EU law as open for adjustment. This includes EIAs as we know them. As part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the new guidance is being considered with the intention to replace EIAs with Environmental Outcomes Reports (EORs).
Unlike EIAs, EORs will not need to comply with any international requirements as they will be exclusively embedded within British law. This has the potential to provide greater focus on more localised environmental concerns, as there is no supranational authority to comply with. The Department of Levelling Up and Regeneration has specified its intentions for this new process as wishing to streamline the system and place greater focus on the outcomes of these reports, rather than the procedures that generate them.
By increasing the focus on the outcomes of proposed developments, it’s hoped that greater environmental improvement can be realised. These new EORs will work alongside other outcomes-based measures such as emerging Biodiversity Net Gain and Net Zero targets.
Part 6 of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which outlines EORs, is currently in consultation. At Temple, we are working across all our teams to deliver a meaningful consultation response on the information outlined thus far.