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EU to cut red tape on environmental impact assessments

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The commission has proposed a series of law amendments to improve the environmental assessment procedure

The European commission has outlined proposals to simplify legislation on environmental impact assessments.

Proposals are intended to ease administration making it easier to assess the impact of a project.

The Environmental Impact Directive came into force 25 years ago, and has been amended several times since. This comprehensive overhaul will adapt the policy to current legal and technical legislation.

The changes will tackle resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and disaster mitigation, reflecting these within the assessment procedure.

Changes will ensure that only projects with significant environmental impacts will have to undergo environmental assessments. Smaller projects, or making adaptations to reduce their impact, will be approved much quicker and at a lower cost.

The changes are said to leave authorities more time to focus on the assessments of major projects with large-scale environmental impacts.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: ‘For the past 25 years, the EIA Directive has helped ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into decision-making for projects. This has improved the sustainability of countless projects, while also empowering citizens and ensuring that they are informed and consulted before decisions are made. But loopholes need to be fixed, in particular concerning the quality of the assessment process, to make sure that projects that will affect the environment are properly assessed.’

The proposed changes will be considered by European Parliament, before it becomes EU law.


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