Changes in environmental assessment rules announced

The Government is to go ahead with plans announced last summer to extend statutory environmental assessment requirements to seven classes of project. It has also bowed to pressure from the European Commission to close loopholes which could allow large-scale forestry and agricultural schemes and other projects which do not require planning consent to escape EC environmental assessment requirements.

Until now, British legislation on environmental assessment has been confined to implementing the 1985 EC Directive on the subject. However, under pressure from conservationists, the Government took powers in the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 to extend the scope of the assessment system to classes of project which are not listed in the Directive, and last summer it issued a consultation paper proposing to apply assessment requirements to s

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