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EIA and planning obligation changes come into force

by on April 15, 2015

Key changes in relation to environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and, separately, s106s and the community infrastructure levy (CIL) have just come into force

An amendment to the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (‘EIA Regulations’) has raised the threshold for EIA screening and whether an environmental statement will be necessary.

Among the changes, the threshold for industrial estate development projects is raised from areas exceeding 0.5 hectares to areas exceeding five hectares while the threshold for residential development is upped from 0.5 hectares up to five hectares.

However, residential developments of more than 150 units require screening even if they fall below the five hectare mark. Meanwhile, the threshold for other urban development is raised from 0.5 hectares to five hectares.

There is no change over development in sensitive areas like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Areas of Conservation, etc.

In the case of the CIL and s106 regimes the Government’s intention is to ensure that the vast majority of planning contributions are paid through the simplified CIL system rather than through individual s106 agreements.

From this month (April) there are restrictions on the pooling of planning obligations. Now, local authorities can no longer pool five s106 obligations together to pay for a single infrastructure project or type of infrastructure.

 

Roger Milne

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