A proposed update of EU law to make environmental impact assessments clearer, build in biodiversity and climate change, and involve the public, was backed by the Environment Committee on Wednesday. This update, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, includes beefed up rules to ensure that decisions to authorize development projects are not influenced by conflicts of interest.
Around 200 types of project are covered by the Environmental Impact Assessment directive (EIA) – from bridges, ports, motorways and landfill sites to intensive rearing of poultry or pigs.
“The revision of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive marks a very important stage in the history of EU environmental policy. After more than 28 years in operation, it is time to update this essential environment policy tool to cope with the new global challenges of the twenty-first century", said MEP Andrea Zanoni (ALDE, IT), who is steering the legislation through Parliament.
The updated law would require impact assessments to take account of new environmental factors, such as biodiversity and climate change. It would also make assessment methods clearer, facilitate public participation via a central web portal, and include beefed-up rules to prevent conflicts of interest and restrict recourse to exemptions.
The agreed text was approved by 46 votes to 8, with 2 abstentions. It is to be put to a vote by the full House during the 10-13 March plenary session in Strasbourg.
Wednesday February 12, 2014/ European Parliament/ European Union.