The recently passed Levelling Up and Regeneration Act has solidified the transition towards environmental outcomes reports (EORs), in a post-Brexit breakaway from legislation originally introduced under the EU’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) directives from the mid-80s.
The latest Insight Briefing from Environment Analyst explores the expected rule changes, the timeline and likely impacts on developers, impact assessment practitioners and planning projects.
We find the move has created unease within the environmental industry, with concerns that the new regime will result in a regression in environmental protection, rather than improvement. Respondents to the recent consultation are worried that the ‘streamlined’ approach will make it easier for developers to forego environmental and stakeholder interests, and there are fears over a period of hiatus in the environmental planning process.
The report includes insights from leading environment assessment practitioners and industry experts, including Josh Fothergill of Fothergill Training & Consulting, Dan Parsons of AtkinsRéalis, Jeremy Randall of Mott MacDonald, Mary Mescall of Stantec, and Rufus Howard of IEMA & IFC.
They discuss the implications of key changes through the EOR approach — such as the removal of the scoping stage, the implementation of a national digital database, and increased focus on mitigation compliance. The consensus is that these measures will require considerable investment, collaboration and training to ensure success.
For the short term at least, the new regime is expected to produce increased demand for impact assessment expertise, as well as higher project costs and extended timeframes.
Learn more about the implications of EORs at Environment Analyst’s UK Business Summit later this month on 30 November in London. Josh Fothergill of Fothergill Training & Consulting, Natalie Prosser of the Office for Environmental Protection and Daniel Slade of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), will be sharing their views on the potential of EORs to deliver positive impact during a panel discussion.