Last edited 04 May 2021

Environmental statement


[edit] Overview

An Environmental Statement is prepared by an applicant as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in support of certain planning applications (see Environmental Impact Assessment for more information). It summarises the findings of the EIA process and is used primarily to inform decision makers regarding the environmental implications of the development.

In addition, it should provide appropriate information for statutory consultees, other interested organisations and members of the public and should provide a basis for consultation.

[edit] Content

There is no specific statutory format prescribed for Environmental Statements, however they must contain the information specified in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011, which includes:

The Environmental Statement should provide a detailed, factual account of the development, but Schedule 4 of the Regulations promotes emphasis on the 'main' or 'significant' effects.

Additional guidance is available on the government's Planning Practice Guidance website.

[edit] Consultation

It is not necessary to undertake consultation regarding an Environmental Statement, however, stakeholders and the local planning authority may have valuable local information which is relevant to the development.

In addition, the local planning authority may provide a formal opinion on the content of the Environmental Statement (a Scoping Opinion). When formulating a Scoping Opinion, the local planning authority must consult with relevant consultation bodies.

[edit] Submission

Where required, an Environmental Statement is submitted alongside a planning application, and should be publicised in accordance with the details of Article 13 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010.

Consultation bodies require a copy of the Environmental Statement and the local planning authority send a copy to the Secretary of State.

[edit] Supplementary environmental statement

'Where the original Environmental Statement was incomplete or further work on environmental effects has been undertaken, (whether or not the project has been modified since the original application and Environmental Statement were submitted) a supplementary Environmental Statement may be submitted, to add to the original, to ensure that all of the relevant environmental information is considered by the Competent Authority. The supplementary Environmental Statement may include a revision of the whole or part of the original document or additions that are needed to cover the additional information.' Ref A handbook on environmental impact assessment, 4th edition, published by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2013.

[edit] Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIPs)

The Planning Inspectorate has issued guidance for Environmental Statements in support of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). They have requested the following is considered:

  • Inclusion of a contents document including all the volumes, chapters, tables, figures, annexes and appendices that will be presented as part of the statement.
  • An electronic contents document should include hyperlinks to the items listed above.
  • The contents should include all documents to be read in conjunction with it.
  • The electronic versions of all documents should be titled appropriately so that their subject matter is easily determined.

The Planning Inspectorate guidance suggests a scoping process is undertaken to determine the appropriate scope of the Environmental Statement.

[edit] Reform

In April 2015, the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessments)(Amendment) Regulations 2015 came into effect, raising the threshold above which a screening decision is required to determine whether an environmental statement is necessary, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.

Controversially, this raised the threshold for industrial estates, residential developments and other urban developments from 0.5 hectares to five hectares (or 150 units for residential developments).

[edit] Digital submission

In July 2019, in what it claims is the first of its kind, Aecom issued a digital version of the Environmental Statement for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) project, integrating 250 documents and 7,000 pages to create an interactive platform that allows users to navigate through information intuitively.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.

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