Legislation, policy and information for marine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Marine developments requiring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can have multiple sets of environmental legislation, policy and plans that apply to them, depending on the type, scale and location of development.

Legal context

EIA Regulations

The Schedules of the 2020 EIA Regulations set out developments requiring a mandatory EIA (Schedule 1) and developments which are subject to a screening process to determine if an EIA is necessary (Schedule 2).

The UK has different sets of Regulations for applying EIA to specific regulatory regimes. The most common ones for marine developments are:

  • The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). The EIA appropriate authority is The Planning Inspectorate.
  • The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 (as amended) need consent from NRW Permitting Service (Wales) or MMO (England).
  • The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (as amended) and The Harbour Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999 (as amended) need consent from Welsh Government.
  • The Water Resources (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003 (as amended) need consent from NRW Permitting Services.
  • The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 (as amended) needs consent from the local planning authority.

Where multiple EIA Regulations and consents apply, it is good practice to provide one Environmental Statement (ES) containing the requirements of each relevant consent, clearly signposted.

Other key legislation

Welsh legislation

These two pieces of legislation and associated documents are useful to inform an EIA and help set the development proposal in the appropriate Welsh context.

Policy context

The planning policies relevant to marine developments in Wales are:

  • Welsh National Marine Plan sets out how Wales will develop the seas in a sustainable way through general and sector policies. Relevant public authorities must take the plan into account in their decision making. Any assessment needs to demonstrate how the WNMP polices have been complied with. The Plan sets out the mitigation hierarchy of avoid, minimise, mitigate impacts.
  • UK Marine Policy Statement - sets out policies for decision making in the marine environment and the need develop ecosystem approach marine plans.
  • National Policy Statements set out government’s objectives for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). These are used to guide development and aid decision-making.

For EIA developments, you should identify the policies relevant to the development project, and how they support the project, in the ES. If the project deviates from policies, you need to provide justification.

Sources of evidence, information and guidance

Some sources of information, evidence and guidance include following:

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