Environmental Impact Assessment
The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Council Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by Directive 97/11/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment) requires member states of the EU to carry out assessments of the environmental impact of certain public and private projects before they are allowed to go ahead. The Directive is implemented in Ireland by the Planning and Development Acts, the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2002 and the European Communities (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1989-2000.
The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are assessed in advance so that people are aware of what those effects are likely to be. The assessment must be carried out in certain cases. For example, motorways, large scale developments in agriculture, the food industry, chemical industry, infrastructure and urban developments all require an EIA. The regulations set thresholds above which an EIA required.
The local authority (or An Bord Pleanála) may require that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared, even if the development is below the threshold but if it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment. The full list of projects and threshold limits are set out in the Planning and Development Regulations.
The EIS is drawn up by the developer and must contain an analysis of the likely effects (good and bad), of a proposed development on the environment, including on people, flora, fauna, soil, water, air, landscape and cultural heritage. It sets out how the developer proposes to deal with the bad effects. The EIS must include a non-technical summary. The Environmental Protection Agency has published Guidelines on the information to be contained in an Environmental Impact Statement (pdf).
OCAE consultants provide specialist advise in the areas of environmental impacts of any proposed development on land and soil as well as associated specialist advisors on the impacts upon air noise water, flora and fauna and human beings. OCAE consultants have provided advice to landowners as well as public bodies on proposed roads, motorways, quarries and private developments.