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Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Quality Standards

Eckard Rehbinder

elni Review 2013,  pp. 23-29. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2013.003

Article 3 of the EIA Directive (Directive 2011/92) sets out the basic concept of the EIA as a process which shall identify, describe and assess the effects that a particular project is likely to have on the environment. However, if one looks at the following articles of the Directive, the concept of “assessment” seems to have somehow been lost. In particular, Article 8 of the EIA Directive only requires that the results of consultations and the information gathered pursuant to Articles 5, 6, and 7 shall be taken into consideration in deciding on granting consent for the project. This duty to consider relates to the environmental impact report submitted by the developer (Article 5) and the information and views gathered in the consultation of interested authorities, the public at large and, where applicable, foreign authorities (Articles 6 and 7). However, Article 8 of the EIA Directive does not formally require the assessment of the project also to be taken into consideration. Although in the case “Commission v. Ireland” of 2011 the European Court of Justice has clarified that the assessment is independent of the duty to consider and must precede the decision on the admissibility of the project, its role in decision-making on the admissibility of the project remains unclear.
This article argues for (suitable) criteria for the assessment of the likely environmental impacts of projects which are subject to the EIA, focusing on the assessments carried out by the competent authority and the assessment elements of the environmental report and the consultation of interested authorities.

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References

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