If you have a site that you know or may possibly require an EIA you can take actions now that will mean it is considered under the current EIA ruling. You would need to do one of the following before the 16th of May 2017: Gain a scoping opinion, submit your Environmental statement or, request a screening opinion before the 16th of May to be considered under current ruling.
Why would you consider this, what will the changes mean? Under the new directive the screening stage of the project will be “front – loaded” requiring much of the survey work to have been completed prior to the screening stage. A scoping opinion request will be available the EIA Report (replaces the Environmental Statement) must then address these in full, including cumulative effects, detailed information on the operational stage and analysis of alternatives to the proposal. In addition to this the period of public consultation will increase to 30 days.
Once determined the deciding authority will produce a reason statement outlining significant effect and conditions to secure these. In terms of biodiversity this will be the conditions required to secure monitoring of the effects and mitigation and enhancement measures.