Environmental Assessment - EIA

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a means of drawing together, in a systematic way, an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects arising from a proposed development.

Developments falling within a description in Schedule 1 to the 2011 EIA Regulations always require EIA. Development of a type listed in Schedule 2 to the 2011 EIA Regulations will require EIA if it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, by virtue of factors such as its size, nature or location.

Policy Aims

  • The requirement for EIA comes from European Directive 2011/92/EU. Link to EIA Directive
  • In Scotland, the EIA Directive has been brought into Scottish law through a number of Scottish Statutory Instruments relevant to individual consenting regimes. These pages relate to the Town and Country Planning EIA regime - information on other Scottish EIA regimes is available.

Recent changes

Agreement reached on EIA Directive: A compromise has been reached on a draft directive amending directive 2011/92/EU.  Further information can be found here.

New Planning Advice Note 1/2013: Environmental Impact Assessment.  New guidance on the integration of EIA within the overall development management process, as a step towards more efficient and effective EIA.  Replaces PAN 58

New European Commission Note on the Interpretation line suggested by the Commission as regards the application of the EIA Directive to associated / ancillary works.

New Circular 4/2011: Direction revoking the Town and Country Planning (Demolition which is not Development)(Scotland) Direction 2001. In future the complete demolition of any building will be development for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 as amended and will be subject to the relevant planning and EIA requirements

New codified EIA Directive 2011/92/EU The European Commission has brought together all existing EU legislation on environmental impact assessment into one single codified Directive. The new codified Directive combines the 1985 Directive and its three subsequent revisions into a single Directive, without making changes to existing provisions

New European Commission Guidance note on the application of the EIA Directive to projects related to the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon (Link to guidance)


Legislation, guidance and advice



Cara Davidson
0131 244 0928