Environmental Impact Assessment

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The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 requires new development projects to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before planning permission can be granted if proposals are for more than:

  • 3,000 places for production pigs (over 30kg) or
  • 900 places for sows.

This is in addition to Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) (formerly IPPC) permitting.

An EIA is also required when any development of an intensive livestock unit exceeds the above threshold or any part is within an environmentally sensitive area where:

  • the area of new floor space exceeds 500 metres square or
  • more than 0.5 ha of semi-natural or uncultivated land is developed.

An EIA assesses the effect a proposed new unit could have upon the environment through noise, smell, pollution, visual impact, traffic, potential flooding and ecology. It considers means of reducing these impacts.

This allows the farmer to reconsider his original ideas and possibly improve on them before the final submission of a planning application.

This is further to EPR, which has lower thresholds, but much of the EPR process translates to the EIA.

The planning application, together with the EIA, is then determined by the Local Planning Authority which decides whether the proposed scheme is given consent or if some of the alternatives in the EIA should be considered to reduce the potential impact.

Natural England consent

Aside from planning permission, an EIA may be required in order to gain consent from Natural England for:

  • Any agricultural project likely to have a significant effect on the environment or
  • Cultivation of land that has not been cultivated for over 15 years (although cultivation includes harrowing and spraying but not topping or grazing).