Scottish MEP, Struan Stevenson has urged communities and businesses from across the UK to contact him with their concerns about the role of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) in the planning system, following his appointment as a Shadow Rapporteur on their EU-wide reform.
EIAs are a developer’s assessment of the possible positive or negative impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment and their purpose is to make sure planners have the information available to take full stock of environmental considerations before allowing developments to proceed.
The European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee has appointed Mr Stevenson as the European Conservative and Reformists’ (ECR) Group’s Shadow Rapporteur for its forthcoming review of the EU’s EIA Directive. The European Commission is aiming to streamline the Directive, make sure that unnecessary EIAs are prevented and ensure that those still required are conducted properly.
Commenting from Brussels on his appointment as Shadow Rapporteur, Struan said:
“Such is the importance of EIAs to the way planning developments happen across the UK and Europe, it is essential that businesses and the public alike have confidence that regulations governing them are fair and proportionate. Yet the EIA Directive was introduced a quarter-century ago, and has not changed significantly despite a massively different political, legal and technical environment both within the EU and across Member States.”
“While I am absolutely committed to cutting burdensome and counterproductive red tape for developers and national authorities, it is essential that safeguards which protect the interests of local communities are preserved. The enormous volumes of correspondence that I personally receive each year from constituents worried about wind farm applications are a clear sign that the system needs improvement to give communities more certainty that inappropriate developments face proper scrutiny.”
“That’s why I am keen to hear from all interested parties, from individuals to community groups to business leaders, about how the current EIA system can work better in the future. This is a once in a generation opportunity to help reform a system that impacts on everybody’s wellbeing.”
A copy of the draft EIA directive can be viewed at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/eia-legalcontext.htm.