DCAN 10: Environmental Impact Assessment

Energy industry Power stations

A11 EIA will normally be required for power stations which require approval from the Department of Economic Development (i.e. those with a thermal output of more than 50 MW). EIA is unlikely to be required for smaller new conventional power stations. The main considerations are likely to be the level of emissions to air, arrangements for the transport of fuel and any visual impact.

Surface storage of fossil fuel and natural gas, underground storage of combustible gases, storage facilities for petroleum, petrochemical and chemical products

A12 In addition to the scale of the development, significant effects are likely to depend on discharges to water, emissions to air and risk of accidents. EIA is more likely to be required where it is proposed to store more than 100,000 tonnes of fuel. Smaller installations are likely to require EIA where hazardous chemicals are stored.

Installations for the processing and storage of radioactive waste

A13 EIA will normally be required for new installations whose primary purpose is to process and store radioactive waste, and which are located on sites not previously authorised for such use. In addition to the scale of any development, significant effects are likely to depend on the extent of routine discharges of radiation to the environment. In this context EIA is unlikely to be required for installations where the processing or storage of radioactive waste is incidental to the main purpose of the development (e.g. installations at hospitals or research facilities).

Installations for hydroelectric energy production

A14 In addition to the physical scale of the development, particular regard should be had to the potential wider impacts on hydrology and ecology. EIA is more likely to be required for new hydro-electric developments which have more than 5 MW of generating capacity.

Wind farms

A15 The likelihood of significant effects will generally depend upon the scale of the development, and its visual impact, as well as potential noise impacts. EIA is more likely to be required for commercial developments of 5 or more turbines, or more than 5 MW of new generating capacity.

Industrial and manufacturing development

A16 New manufacturing or industrial plants of the types listed in the EIA Regulations, may well require EIA if the operational development covers a site of more than 10 hectares. Smaller developments are more likely to require EIA if they are expected to give rise to significant discharges of waste, emission of pollutants or operational noise. Among the factors to be taken into account in assessing the significance of such effects are:

whether the development involves a process designated as a ‘scheduled process’ for the purpose of air pollution control;

whether the process involves discharges to water which require the consent of the Environment & Heritage Service;

whether the installation would give rise to the presence of environmentally significant quantities of potentially hazardous or polluting substances;

whether the process would give rise to radioactive or other hazardous waste;

whether the development would fall under Council Directive 96/82/ EC on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances (COMAH Opens link in a new browser window).

However, the need for a consent under other legislation is not itself a justification for EIA.

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