Environmental Impact Assessment

The Council of Ministers has backed changes to a series of environmental laws including the environmental impact assessment (EIA), fluorinated gases, the emissions trading system (ETS) and environmental accounts. The MEPs and the Member State representatives have reached agreement on the revision of the 1985 environmental impact assessment (EIA) directive in December last year.

The European Parliament has proposed that exploration and hydraulic fracturing extraction activities for unconventional fossil fuels should be subject to environmental impact studies, in adopting an amendment to existing EU legislation. MEPs also suggest measures to prevent conflicts of interest and to ensure that the public is informed and consulted. The vote means lead MEP Andrea Zanoni (ALDE, IT) has been given a mandate to negotiate a first-reading agreement with EU ministers. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive applies to both public and private projects.

Spain has agreed to speed up environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures as part of a drive to cut administrative burden on businesses. Under draft legislation tabled on Friday, the duration of EIA procedures would be reduced from two years now to just four months. The European Commission has also proposed to simplify and shorten procedures at EU level.