DCAN 10: Environmental Impact Assessment

10.0 Procedures for establishing whether or not EIA is required

10.1 The determination of whether or not EIA is required for a particular development proposal can take place at a number of different stages:

10.2 Applicants should bear in mind that if the need for EIA is only established after the planning application has been submitted, consideration of the application will be suspended pending submission of an Environmental Statement.

11.0 Pre-Planning Application Procedures

11.1 Developers are strongly advised to consult the Department before submitting a planning application that might require an EIA. In addition, developers should consult other authorities with relevant environmental responsibilities. The “screening” process if used will assist developers in this regard.

*SR 1993 No.278 (“the GDO”)

11.2 Before submitting an application for planning permission, developers who are in doubt as to whether an EIA would be required, may request a determination in writing from the Department. The request should include a plan indicating the proposed location of the development, and a brief description of the nature and purpose of the proposal and its possible environmental effects, giving a broad indication of their likely scale.

11.3 On receipt of a request, the Department will consider whether the proposed development is either a Schedule 1 project or a Schedule 2 project that is likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location, taking into account the selection criteria in Schedule 3 (Annex C). The developer should normally be able to supply sufficient information about the development to enable the Department to form a judgement and determine the need for EIA. However, where the Department considers that it needs further information, the developer will be asked to provide it. The issue for the Department at this stage is the broad significance of the likely environmental effects of the proposal. This should not require as much information as would be expected to support a planning application. The Department may also if appropriate seek advice from other statutory or non-statutory authorities with relevant environmental responsibilities.

11.4 Where the Department makes a determination, a copy of it with a statement of reasons must be made available for public inspection alongside the planning register.

11.5 The Department must make its determination within 4 weeks of receiving a request or within an extended period agreed in writing with the developer. The Department is required to state its reasons for the determination and advise the developer accordingly.

11.6 The developer is required to inform the Department within 4 weeks of the date of the determination that he/she accepts it or does not accept it and intends to seek a hearing before the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).

11.7 A developer may also request an opinion from the Department in advance of submitting an ES as to the information to be included in an ES. This procedure is “scoping”. Before issuing a scoping opinion, the Department must consult the developer and other such authorities likely to be concerned because of their environmental responsibilities.

11.8 The Department is required to respond to a “scoping” request within 6 weeks from the receipt of the request or an agreed extended period. If a scoping is requested at the same time as a determination request, the 6 weeks dates from the issue of the determination. Further information may still be requested in due course if required, even where a scoping opinion has been issued.

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