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Environmental impact assessment (EIA)

Information about the process to find out the likely environmental impact of a proposed development.

What is an EIA?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) draws together an assessment of the likely significant effects arising from a proposed development.  This generally applies to developments of a larger nature; however, smaller scale proposals can also result in significant environmental effects depending on the sensitivity of the area.

The aim of EIA is to protect the environment and ensure that the environmental implications of decision making on development proposals, both positive and negative, are known by the Council and are taken into account before decisions are made.

Does my proposed development require an EIA?

Development proposals which fall under a description in Schedule 1 of the 2017 EIA Regulations  always require an EIA.  These tend to be larger developments or those with potentially the most significant environmental effects, such oil refineries, intensive rearing of poultry or pigs or quarries and open-cast mining where the surface of the site exceeds 25 hectares.  If your proposal falls under Schedule 1 of the Regulations, it will require to go through the formal EIA process and in these cases we can provide a scoping opinion which details what the EIA should cover.

Development of a nature listed in Schedule 2 of the 2017 EIA Regulations may require an EIA. This depends on whether the proposal is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, by virtue of factors such as its location, size and nature of the proposed development.

Schedule 2 development can include proposals such as wind turbines, certain industrial developments, urban development projects (such as car parks, leisure centres and multiplex cinemas) and holiday villages outside urban areas.

Changes or extensions to developments in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 which may have significant effects on the environment also fall within the Regulations.

How to request a Screening Opinion

As not all development proposals that fall within Schedule 2 require an EIA, you can apply for a Screening Opinion prior to submitting a planning application.  This would advise whether an EIA would be required.  You would need to include a plan showing the location of the development, provide a description of the proposal and outline potential effects on the environment. You should also include actions you'll take to mitigate the impact.

In most cases, we have 21 days to decide if you require to undertake an EIA.

There is a right of appeal if we decide that an EIA is required.  If you wish to submit a screening opinion request, please send the above details to:

Scoping Opinion

Should an EIA be required, you can ask the Council for a Scoping Opinion and we will advise you what information should be included in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and what can be scoped out.  These should also be submitted to planning.development@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

Further Information

More information and advice in respect of Environmental Impact Assessment can be found on the Scottish Government Website:

A list of the Council's previous Screening and Scoping Opinions can be found by clicking on the links below:

If you would like further information about EIA and/or a specific proposal, please do not hesitate to contact the planning service and discuss with a planning officer.