"Screening" & "scoping" proposed for environmental assessment

A long-awaited proposal to amend the 1985 EC Directive on environmental assessment of major projects has finally been issued by the European Commission.1 Its main provisions would add two formal stages to the assessment procedure, obliging authorities to take more rigorous decisions on the need for environmental assessment and set out in advance the information to be provided by developers. Additions to the existing lists of projects subject to assessment have also been proposed. Recent official comments have suggested that the UK may well oppose the proposal as it did the 1985 Directive.

The 1985 Directive came into force in mid-1988. Its key requirement is that major projects listed in an Annex I - such as power stations, oil refineries, motorways and toxic waste disposal sites - must always be subject to prior environmental assessment, while those in an Annex II must be subject to assessment where competent authorities consider that their characteristics - in particular their nature, size or location - are likely to give ris

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