DCAN 10: Environmental Impact Assessment

1.1 This Development Control Advice Note provides guidance to prospective developers and their professional advisors and agents on the interpretation of the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999* (the “EIA Regulations”) which came into operation on the 14th March, 1999 and how they will be applied in practice.

1.2 The Regulations implement EC Directive 85 / 337/EEC as amended by Directive 97/11/EC on the assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment insofar as it applies to development under the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991. They incorporate the requirements of Directive 97/11/EC into the planning system in Northern Ireland and consolidate the Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989** and subsequent amending regulations (referred to hereinafter as the 1989 Regulations).

2.0 Aims

2.1 The main aims of this Advice Note are to :

* SR 1999 No. 73

** SR 1989 No. 20

3.0 Background

3.1 Environmental Impact Assessment is a method of ensuring that the likely effects of new development on the environment are fully understood and taken into account before planning permission is given for the development to proceed. As such its purpose is to improve the quality of decision making by identifying potential environmental issues early in the project process.

3.2 While the Department is not permitted to grant planning permission in appropriate cases without taking into consideration environmental information, the onus is on the developer to demonstrate the environmental acceptability of his/her project.

3.3 Environmental information includes the Environmental Statement and any additional information subsequently requested and submitted, any representations made by authorities with specific environmental responsibilities and any relevant public environmental representations.

3.4 The Environmental Statement (ES) produced as part of an environmental impact assessment, brings together in a single document or series of documents information about a proposed development and its effects on the environment.

3.5 In summary, therefore, the Environmental Impact Assessment process will :

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