(15 May 2014) – New legislation simplifying the rules for assessing the potential effects of projects on the environment enters into force today.
According to the Commission, the newly amended Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive will offer better protection for the environment while reducing administrative burdens stemming from EU law. It will also enhance business certainty where public and private investments are concerned.
The new approach focuses on risks and challenges that have emerged since the original rules came into force some 25 years ago. This means more attention to areas such as resource efficiency, climate change and disaster prevention, which are now better reflected in the assessment process.
The EIA Directive aims to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are adequately assessed before they are approved. Hence, before any decision is taken to allow such a project to proceed, the possible impacts it may have on the environment (from either its construction or operation) are identified and assessed. The Directive also ensures the participation of the environmental authorities and the public in the environmental decision-making procedures.