The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is documented within the Environmental Statement (ES). It should be presented as a complete and independent document, which the developer is responsible for producing. The production of the ES and any supplementary environmental information (SEI) is the responsibility of the developer. The Marine Works (EIA) Regulations 2007 (as amended) set out the minimum information to be included in the ES. This is set out in Schedule 3 of the Regulations. The ES should in a clear and logical manner provide all the information gathered during the EIA process allowing consultees and the licensing authorities to consider the document. The ES is the primary tool used to make a decision on the application.
The Environmental Statement should include all of the information required to enable the licensing authority(ies) to determine the extent of any environmental impacts arising from the proposed scheme. This includes information to allow other required assessments such as Habitats Regulations Appraisals, European Protected Species Licence Assessments, Water Framework Directive Compliance Assessments and Flood Consequence Assessments.
The key elements that an ES should achieve are:
- Provide sufficient details to allow readers to make an independent decision on the impacts associated with the proposed development;
- Provide an unbiased report of the EIA process;
- Avoid technical jargon unless absolutely necessary as findings should be presented in non-technical language.
Applicants have a statutory duty to include certain information within the ES:
- A non-technical summary (NTS);
- A description of the development;
- A description of the mitigation measures;
- The data required to identify and assess the main effects which the development is likely to have on the environment;
- An outline of the main alternatives considered.
Producing the final ES can take around 6 months including the preparation of baseline sections, the impact assessment section, mitigation/monitoring sections, collation of draft ES, client review and legal sign/off, printing and submission.