The regulations relating to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) set out various 'thresholds' for the purposes of determining whether development needs to be screened for EIA purposes. If the scale of the development is lower than the relevant threshold in the EIA regulations then no EIA screening is required and the planning application can be submitted without an EIA unless the Secretary of State issues a screening direction requiring an EIA (the Secretary of State – but not the local planning authority – has the discretion to carry out EIA screening even if the development is lower than the relevant threshold).
On 6 April 2015 the thresholds that set the point at which certain types of development project need to be screened for EIA purposes changed to:
• For 'urban development projects' – this is the EIA category under which commercial development schemes fall (such as office buildings, mixed-use developments, retail parks, housing developments etc) – screening is now not required unless:
- The development includes more than 1 hectare of development which is not dwellinghouses;
- The development includes more than 150 dwellinghouses; or
- The area of the development exceeds 5 hectares.
Previously the threshold for urban development projects was 0.5 hectares.
• For industrial estate development projects the threshold is raised from 0.5 to 5 hectares.
For more information please contact: