The government announced yesterday (24 October) that both Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will continue to operate as before with ‘no substantive changes’ following Brexit.
There will also be no need to retrospectively re-examine any decisions made before Brexit to aid the smooth operation of EIA and SEA as part of the planning process, post Brexit.
What does this mean in practice?
New EIA and SEA statutory instruments have been introduced which will automatically come into effect as law unless either House stops them within a fixed period after they have been laid in Parliament (usually 40 sitting days). These are due to come into force when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. We will then have a new set of ‘Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Planning (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018’.
Moving forward, the government emphasised it is ‘committed to maintaining the highest environmental standards after we leave the EU, and will continue to uphold international obligations through multilateral environmental agreements’.
For this reason, expect EIA and SEA to be ‘business as usual’, certainly for the foreseeable future.
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