THE NEW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a technical-administrative procedure at the European level to identify, describe and evaluate in a transparent and objective way the significant environmental impacts of a project at an early stage of its planning

PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The basic concepts underlying the EIA procedure are defined in Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 and are as follows

– prevention: analysis of all possible impacts of the work in order not only to reduce negative effects, but also to improve the quality of life if possible

– integration: analysis of all the components of the environment and of the interactions between the various possible effects

– comparison: dialogue between project proponents and analysts during all phases of data collection and analysis

– participation: opening the evaluation process to citizens

– with regard to this last point, the request for authorization must be public and freely accessible

The scope of the EIA is governed by Legislative Decree 152/06, Environmental Regulation, the Consolidated Environmental Law.

NEW RULES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

On March 10, the European Council of Ministers approved new rules on verifying eligibility for environmental impact assessment, implementing Directive 2014/52/EU.

The decree introduces the possibility of replacing the EIA with a single environmental procedure that includes all authorization documents related to environmental factors.

A transitional rule allows proposers to apply this new procedure to procedures already underway.

The decree also provides for the reduction of the duration of the procedure, introducing peremptory deadlines within which the administration must provide answers and also sanctions for non-compliant managers.

PROJECT DESIGNS FOR THE EIE PROCEDURE

According to the new decree, the level of the project drawings can be assimilated to that of the feasibility studies, without prejudice to the possibility of evaluating with the administration the detailed definition of certain drawings, if necessary.

In the phase of verification of the submission of the intervention to an EIA procedure, it is possible to replace the project plans with a preliminary environmental study, as provided for in European legislation.

In the case of an extension of existing projects or works, a preliminary assessment phase can be requested from the administration in order to identify the possible procedure to be launched.

The decree also provides for the digitization of all the information to be published by the applicant, thus removing the obligation to communicate it to the press.

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