A new approach to Environmental Impact Assessment in Ireland: Remedial EIA

The European Court

In the next few months a new and unprecedented form of Environmental Impact Assessment, the remedial Environmental Impact Assessment, will be required in Ireland. The remedial EIA is a creation of the Planning and Development (amendment) Act 2010. Section 177F of the Act states that a remedial EIA shall contain a statement of the significant effects on the environment which may have, or reasonably be expected to occur because a development was (authors emphasis) carried out, the details of any appropriate remedial measures undertaken or proposed to be undertaken to remedy any adverse effects on the environment and the time period in which the remedial measures shall be carried out. The remedial EIA will accompany another unprecedented document, an application for substitute planning consent, required under section 177C of the Act.

The reason for the establishment of the new process stems from a decision of the European Court of Justice in July 2008 in the Derrybrien, Co. Galway wind farm case (ECJ 215/06). In that case the court found that Ireland was in breach of the European Union EIA Directive as retention planning permission had been granted to a wind farm development without an EIA being carried out. In fact the practice of granting planning retention permission for developments that would have required an EIA and also for developments which would have required a determination as to whether EIA was required (i.e. screening) was widespread. The result of the decision is that retention planning for developments requiring EIA ceased completely from July 2008. A large number of developments that took place after the transposition of the EIA Directive into Irish Law in February 1990 and were in receipt of retention planning have been left in a difficult legal position. The new procedure of substitute consent and remedial EIA is intended to regularise the position of these developments, both those that required an EIA and those that required screening. Once the developments requiring substitute consent have been identified they will be allowed to submit an application for substitute consent accompanied by a remedial EIS directly to An Bord Pleanála, the statutory planning appeals board, for a decision.

While the Planning and Development Act was passed into law in July of 2010 a number of technicalities have delayed the commencement of the sections dealing with substitute consent and remedial EIA. It has been reported that these will soon be overcome and that part of the Act commenced this summer.

About the author

Dr. Charles Mount is Project Archaeologist with the Irish Concrete Federation where he is dealing with the cultural heritage aspects of the remedial EIA process. You can contact him about this blog at Charles.mount@irishconcrete.ie

Cite this post as:

Mount, C. A new approach to Environmental Impact Assessment in Ireland: Remedial EIA. The Charles Mount Blog, May 23, 2011. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=30