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Pickles to review EIA directive proposals in a bid to halt 'regulatory creep'

Out-Law News | 07 Dec 2012 | 4:33 pm | 1 min. read

Proposed amendments to the EU's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive will continue to impose costly burdens for the planning system, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has said. 

"Regulatory creep is imposing additional and expensive requirements on the planning system", Pickles said in a written ministerial statement published yesterday.

As reported by Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, in its DCO Dashboard on 21 November, new provisions in the EIA Directive may limit the time allowed for public consultation to a maximum of 90 days and for consideration by the competent authority of the EIA to a maximum of 6 months.

Pickles has criticised the additional costs of EIAs. He said that they are unnecessary because of existing and adequate domestic safeguards. He also noted that the EIA is one of many directives that have implications for planning.

"It has become apparent that some local planning authorities require detailed assessment of all environmental issues irrespective of whether EU directives actually require it; similarly, some developers do more than is actually necessary to avoid the possibility of more costly legal challenges which add delays and cost to the application process," said Pickles.

Pickles deposited a memorandum on the EIA directive's proposals in Parliament. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will consult next year on thresholds for the application of the EU EIA regime in order to identify projects falling below the threshold, to which additional EU requirements will not apply.

"This will aim to remove unnecessary provisions from our regulations, and to help provide greater clarity and certainty on what EU law does and does not require," he said.