E nvironmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are reports which have the primary aim of protecting the environment; ensuring that during the planning process, the local planning authority (LPA) is made fully aware of the effects that a proposed development will have on the environment.

A number of developments, especially national infrastructure projects and projects involving hazardous materials, such as asbestos removal, will require an EIA to be submitted as part of their planning application as is outlined in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2015. Other projects which might require an EIA to be submitted are outlined in Schedule 2 and have set criteria and thresholds to determine when an EIA will need to be submitted.

To understand whether a project meets the thresholds outlined in Schedule 2, and thus require an EIA, a ‘Screening’ procedure will need to be undertaken. These usually take place early on in the project but can also occur after a planning application has been made. This procedure essentially determines the likely impacts of the project upon the surrounding environment and, as such, determines in the first instance if an EIA is going to be required. If the project is listed in Schedule 2, then it will be down to the LPA to decide whether it meets the criteria to require an EIA.

Schedule 3 of the act outlines the criteria for this screening procedure, one of which includes determining the absorption capacity of the natural environment within which particular attention should be paid to landscapes and sites of historical, cultural or archaeological significance. Following the screening procedure, a scoping report can then be produced which outlines the key issues arising from the development and the methodologies proposed for the various assessments that will need to take place to identify the likely impacts of these issues. It is also at this point that any issues which are deemed ‘not significant’ can be scoped out. In this event, however, clear justification will be required. With a team of expert heritage and archaeology consultants, Fuller Long is uniquely positioned to provide you with the necessary information your scoping reports will need in the event that your development is going to impact elements of the historic environment outlined in Schedule 3.

‘Our team is capable of providing detailed chapters on the likely impacts a development will have on the historic environment for both scoping reports and as part of a full EIA.’

Such chapters would include, in the case of a scoping report, an outline of the assessment methodology, as well as a preliminary desk-based assessment to determine the baseline conditions of the surrounding historic environment. Crucially following our initial assessment, we can provide an in-depth breakdown of the significance criteria and the sensitivity of any cultural heritage features that are likely to be affected by the development based on these criteria. All of which would be required as part of an EIA. 

If you are a developer seeking heritage assistance with your Environmental Impact Assessments, Fuller Long can help.  To speak with one of our experienced team of planning and heritage consultants, please call us on 0808 164 1288 or email us at hello@fullerlong.com.