EPA publishes Guidelines on the information to be contained in Environmental Impact Assessment Reports

  • The EPA has published updated Guidelines for preparing Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIARs) for projects covered by the EIA Directive.
  • The Guidelines are a statutory document that should be regarded by those preparing EIARs and the decision makers considering the EIARs.
  • These guidelines should improve the quality of EIARs, making the overall process clearer and easier to understand and easier for the public to participate.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published ‘Guidelines on the information to be contained in Environmental Impact Assessment Reports’.
The Guidelines are primarily intended to be an authoritative reference to those preparing Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIARs) for projects covered by the EIA Directive.
Clear, concise, unambiguous information is essential throughout these reports. The Guidelines contain the systematic approach, standard descriptive methods and effect descriptions that can be used by developers. This ensures that all the likely significant effects are adequately considered and clearly communicated.
Commenting on the publication of the Guidelines, Ms. Sharon Finegan, Director, EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability said:
‘With increased emphasis on the need for meaningful public participation in decisions relating to environmental issues, it is more important than ever to ensure that information is available to the public in a format that is clear, concise and accessible. The Guidelines should improve the quality of EIARs, make the overall process clearer and easier to understand and should make it easier for the public to participate.’
The Guidelines are a statutory document that should be regarded by those preparing EIARs and the decision makers considering the EIARs.
The Guidelines will assist competent authorities when considering EIARs during the decision-making processes prior to granting/refusing consent.  The EPA’s updated Guidelines will result in better environmental protection by ensuring that the EIA process is more clear, accessible, and identifies effects early and accurately.
The Guidelines are available on the EPA’s website.
Originally published in 2002, and subsequently revised and in draft since August 2017, these Guidelines are now formally adopted and published replacing all previous versions and take account of the transposition of the amending EIA Directive (2014/52/EU). They also include lessons learned and experience gained from EU and Irish case law.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process. An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is the principle document prepared by an applicant for authorisation and submitted to a competent authority for consideration in the EIA process (which in turn forms part of the consent process).
The amended EIA Directive uses the term Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for what was formerly referred to in Irish legislation as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The preparation of the revised Guidelines has involved extensive consultation. A Technical Working Group with membership drawn from a broad range of external stakeholders was established to monitor, progress and guide the different phases of the work on these Guidelines.

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