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Environmental Impact Assessment

Information on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and how it applies to marine licensing

Background

The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (as amended) incorporate the European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive into UK law. The Directive aims to ensure that the authority giving the consent for projects is aware of any likely significant environmental effects before making its decision.

The EIA Directive sets out a procedure that must be followed for certain types of project before they can be given consent. This procedure, known as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is an assessment of a project's likely significant environmental effects. This helps to ensure that the predicted effects, and the scope for reducing them, are understood by the public and the relevant authority before it makes its decision.

2017 Amendment to the Marine Works (EIA) Regulations

The 2017 amendment includes transitional provisions dependant on the stage of the EIA process an application is within will determine whether the 2017 amendment applies.

Transitional Arrangements

The 2017 amended regulations do not apply to

  • Screening Opinions applied for prior to 16 May 2017
  • Projects where EIA consent was applied for prior to 16 May 2017
  • Projects, including their subsequent application for EIA consent, which requested an EIA scoping opinion prior to 16 May 2017

EIA screening and scoping

The Marine Works (EIA) Regulations provide for the application process to include:

  • An EIA screening exercise where an applicant may request the licensing authority’s opinion as to whether an EIA is required. This is known as a screening opinion
  • An EIA scoping exercise where an applicant may request the licensing authority’s opinion as to the information to be provided in the Environmental Statement (ES). This is known as a scoping opinion

Please use the links below for further information on the screening and scoping process.

What types of project require an EIA?

The Marine Works (EIA) Regulations require an EIA to be carried out in support of an application for consent for categories of project listed in Schedule A1 and Schedule A2 of the regulations.

Schedule A1 projects

All projects listed in Schedule A1 are considered to have significant effects on the environment and will therefore always require an EIA.

Schedule A2 projects

Projects listed within Schedule A2 will only require an EIA if Marine Licensing concludes that the project in question is likely to have significant effects on the environment due to factors such as its size, nature or location.

Where potential applicants are unsure whether a project requires EIA, a screening opinion should be requested from Marine Licensing. Please use the ‘Screening’ link below for details of how to apply. 

What information should be included in an ES?

The Marine Works (EIA) Regulations 2007 (as amended) set out the minimum information to be included in the ES. This is set out in Schedule 3 of the Regulations and is summarised below.

A description of the project and of the regulated activity, including details of the following matters:

  • A description of the location of the project and the regulated activity
  • A description of the physical characteristics of the whole project and regulated activity, including requisite demolition (including nature and source of any materials and the working methods to be used)
  • A description of the main characteristics of the operational phase of the project

An estimate of the expected residues and emissions (eg water, air, noise, vibration etc.) resulting from the project.

A description of reasonable alternatives (eg project design, technology, location).

A description of the current state of the environment (baseline), and the likely evolution of the baseline in the absence of the project.

A description of how the following factors are likely to be significantly affects by the project, including any interactions between these factors:

  • Population and human health
  • Biodiversity
  • Land, soil, water, air, climate, landscape
  • Material assets and cultural heritage

A description of the likely significant effects of the project on the environment resulting from:

  • Construction and existence of the project (including demolition, where relevant)
  • The use of natural resources
  • Emission of pollutants, noise, vibration, light, heat, radiation
  • Risks to human health, cultural heritage or the environment (eg due to accident or disaster)
  • The cumulative effects with other existing projects
  • The impact on climate (eg nature and magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions) and the vulnerability of the project to climate change
  • Technologies and substances used

The description should cover each of the following categories of effect:

  • Direct and indirect effects
  • Secondary effects
  • Cumulative effects
  • Transboundary
  • Short-term, medium-term and long-term effects
  • Permanent and temporary effects
  • Positive and negative effects

The forecasting methods used by the applicant to assess the main effects that the project and the regulated activity are likely to have on the environment.

A description of the measures envisaged to avoid, prevent, reduce and if possible offset any significant adverse effects of the project and the regulated activity on the environment, and any proposed monitoring arrangements. This description must explain the extent to which significant effects on the environment are avoided, prevented or reduced, covering both construction and operational phases.

A description of the expected significant adverse effects of the project on the environment resulting from the vulnerability of the project to major accidents or disasters.

Any difficulties, such as technical deficiencies or lack of knowledge, encountered in compiling any information of a kind specified above.

A non-technical summary of the information provided above.

A reference list detailing sources used for the descriptions and assessments used in the report.

For detailed advice on what information should be included in the ES, applicants should request a scoping opinion from Marine Licensing.

Previous EIA consent decisions issued by Natural Resources Wales

A list of EIA consent decisions made by Natural Resources Wales for marine licence applications can be found by following the link below.

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