Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) & and Hazardous Substances Consent (HSC)

Register of EIA Screening and Scoping Opinions

The purpose of EIA is to assess all potentially significant environmental impacts arising from a proposed development and to identify appropriate mitigation measures by which these impacts can be reduced or avoided. This ensures that local planning authorities take full account of the likely significant effects in determining planning applications. EIA is governed by the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2011 as amended, which apply EU Directive 85/337/EEC “on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment” (the ‘EIA Directive’) to the planning system in England.

Stage 1: EIA Screening – is an EIA required?

Before the Council can require a developer to prepare an EIA it must undertake ‘screening’ to determine whether the proposal is likely to have significant effects on the environment. If the proposed development is listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations, an EIA is required in every case. If the proposed development is listed in Schedule 2 and exceeds the relevant exclusion thresholds and criteria set out in the second column, it must be screened having regard to:

  1. the characteristics of the development;
  2. the location of the development (having regard to the environmental sensitivity of the area); and
  3. the characteristics of the potential impact.

Indicative size thresholds are provided in the third column of Schedule 2 to guide the screening process. Proposals located in, or partly in, a ‘sensitive area’ also need to be screened, even if they fall below the relevant thresholds.

Where a developer submits a request to the Council for screening opinion, the Council has 3 weeks within which to adopt its EIA screening opinion from the date on which the request was received (the 3 week period can be extended, if the developer agrees in writing to the extension). Once the Council’s screening opinion has been issued, it is required to be held on a public register.

Stage 2: EIA Scoping – what issues should the EIA cover?

Where a proposed development is determined to be ‘EIA development’, the developer can ask the Council for advice on the scope of the information to be gathered during the EIA and to be covered in the Environmental Statement (which reports on the findings of the EIA). The Council has a period of 5 weeks within which to produce an EIA Scoping Opinion, which can be extended if the developer agrees in writing to the extension. The planning authority is legally required to consult with the Environment Agency, Natural England, English Heritage and the Greater London Authority. Once the scoping opinion has been adopted, it is held in a public register.

Stage 3: Review of Environmental Statements

Once an Environmental Statement has been submitted with a planning application, the Council can request additional information if it considers the Environmental Statement fails to address the minimum requirements set out in Schedule 3 of the EIA Regulations.

Further guidance in relation to EIA's can be found within the National Planning Practice Guidance.

Please view the Public register for detailed documents relating to EIA.

Hazardous Substances Consents

Details can be found below in relation to Hazardous Substance Consents.  This outlines when Hazardous Substance Consent are required, how to apply for consent and how to access the public register of sites with a Hazardous Substance consent.

Hazardous Substance Consent is required when substances on a site are at, or in excess of the 'controlled quantity' as set out in the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015

What constitutes a Hazardous Substance and the procedures for applications are set out within the same regulations.

Hazardous Substances Application Forms and Certificates (new consents and consents for continuation or modification). 

Applications can be made here and the relevant certificates can be found within Form 2 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015. Every application must also be accompanied by a signed certificate relating to ownership. 

Any application must be made in writing to the Council and include the following information as a minimum: 

  • a site map - this must be to a scale of not less than 1:10,000, must be based on an Ordnance Survey map;
  • a substance location plan - this must be to a scale of not less than 1:2500 and must identify the area of the site to be used for storage, the location of any major items of plant to be used for storage and access points to and from the land;
  • a certificate to confirm that the public have been informed by notice of the application and the application has been adequately publicised by the applicant.  This should include a notice in a local newspaper and posted on the land in accordance with the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015.
  • a certificate of ownership in accordance with the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015.
  • the appropriate fee.  Where applications relating to the same site are made to us and another authority, the fee is paid to the authority in whose area the largest part of the site is situated.

Public Register of Sites

Section 28 of the Planning (Hazardous Substance) Act 1990 requires the Council to maintain a public register of sites at which hazardous substances are permitted to be located.

Further information in relation to Hazardous Substances Consent can be found within the following links.