Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Last updated: 29 June 2017


Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool used to assess the significant effects of a project or development proposal on the environment.

EIAs make sure that project decision makers think about the likely effects on the environment at the earliest possible time and aim to avoid, reduce or offset those effects. This ensures that proposals are understood properly before decisions are made.

Stages of the EIA process

EIA has 5 main stages. If an EIA is required, an Environmental Assessment Impact Report will be written and submitted with the application for development consent. The public will have the chance to comment. This makes sure you're given a chance to be involved in decision making.

Stage What's involved
1. Screening Deciding if an EIA is required
2. Scoping Deciding what needs to be covered in the assessment and reported in the 'EIA Report'
3. Preparing the EIA Report The EIA report has to include the likely significant environmental effects of the development
4. Making an application and consultation The EIA Report and development application must be publicised (including electronic advertisement), interested parties and the public must be given an opportunity to give their views on it
5. Decision making The EIA Report and any comments made on it must be taken into account by the competent authority before they decide whether to give consent for the development. The decision notice has to be published
6. Post decision The developer starts any monitoring required by the competent authority.

Who makes the decisions?

Competent authorities decide whether to grant consent for a project. Information from the EIA process must be looked at when making a decision. Comments from statutory consultees and the public are also taken into account.

In Scotland there is a broad range of EIA development. This ranges from small-scale agricultural projects to major infrastructure.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)