19. The EIA Directive 2011/92/ EU requires an assessment of the likely significant effects of certain projects on the environment before a development consent can be granted. This has been amended by EIA Directive 2014/52/ EU; however the aim remains the same, to provide a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation of projects with a view to reducing their impact on the environment.
20. The requirements of the amended EIA Directive form part of European law and must be incorporated into the domestic legislation of Member States no later than 16 May 2017. However Member States have discretion on how to make the changes required; as such the approach to bring the requirements into Scottish legislation was consulted upon. The overall approach by Scottish Ministers throughout the transposition has been to minimise additional regulatory burden whilst ensuring protection of the environment. In addition to align with the better regulation principles of; proportionality, consistency, accountability, transparency, and targeted regulation.
21. The consultation sought views on whether the Scottish Government's approach meets the requirements as set out in the EIA Directive and what these changes could mean for practice across the following areas: Assessment Process, Information to be Assessed, Screening, EIA Report, Scoping, Assessment Quality and Expertise, Consultation and Publicity, Monitoring, Decision, Conflict of Interests, Penalties and Transitional Arrangements. The consultation also sought views on a number of additional policy issues, including proposed changes to thresholds for Forestry and Marine licensing and multi-stage consents.
22. In Scotland EIA is currently applied through eleven separate EIA regimes each with their own competent authority/authorities and legislation. Eight regimes chose to progress the transposition proposals together. As such, to minimise duplication through the consultation process we sought views on changes to the eight regimes simultaneously. Where the approach differed across the regimes, for example on timescales, these differences were highlighted in the consultation paper.
23. The consultation was accompanied by two sets of draft regulations: The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 Regulations, and The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) 2017 Regulations, to provide respondents with examples of how the proposals looked in draft legislation.
1.3 Analysis and Reporting
24. The consultation paper and questionnaire was available on the Scottish Government's online portal 'citizen space,' which was used to gather all responses centrally and facilitate analysis. Where respondents did not use the online portal but indicated within their responses their answer to the questions, these have been included in the relevant count and were input online through citizen space.
25. The consultation questionnaire asked respondents 30 questions, which followed a general format of tick box options such as yes/no/unsure followed by a dialogue box to allow for more detailed responses. Where we asked respondents to select yes/no/unsure, the results from these responses are provided in the first paragraph of the analysis with a summary of comments for each question provided below.
26. Where comments were given, each response was considered and common points, recurring themes and similar issues raised were identified and included in the analysis. Several respondents stated 'no comment' in the dialogue box; we have excluded these from the number of comments received per question. Where points were raised on the detail of the draft legislation these will be taken into account in finalising the legislation.
27. As part of the consultation we asked a number of questions regarding publishing permissions. Where respondents have given permission, their responses have been published and are available at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/eia-transposition-team/transposition-of-environmental-impact/consult_view.
Email: Hannah Eamer