DCLG ducks definition of competence in EIA

EIA practitioners are concerned that the government’s failure to define who qualifies as a ‘competent expert’ in preparing environmental statements (ES) could lead to delays or legal challenges.

The revised EIA Directive states that a developer must ensure the ES is prepared by competent experts and that the authority deciding the outcome of a planning application must have ‘sufficient expertise’ to examine the statement.

But in its consultation on transposing the directive, the communities and local government department (DCLG) has omitted any definition of the phrase. Instead, it says responsibility for deciding whether an ES has been prepared by someone with ‘sufficient expertise’ lies with the local authority deciding the outcome of the application.

Josh Fothergill, IEMA policy and practice lead on EIA, said the approach carried significant risk of delays and costs for ...

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