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Revised EIA regime comes into force

Words: Roger Milne

The government has published updated guidelines for planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála on carrying out environmental impact assessments (EIAs). New planning regulations have just come into force.

Key amendments include reduced administrative burdens, the broadening of environmental factors to be considered in the assessment (population and human health, resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and disaster prevention) and moves to strengthen screening procedures to determine whether an EIA is required.

The new regime includes a requirement for developers to employ competent experts and for the Bord and planning authorities to have access to the expertise needed to consider EIA reports.

The amendments will mean enhanced requirements for public access to information and will require all decisions by planning authorities and the Bord to include a reasoned conclusion on the significant effects of the project on the environment.

Planning minister Eoghan Murphy insisted that the changes would mean improved public access to information and participation in the planning process.

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