The new EIA proposals are designed to speed up the process in which the environmental, social and economic impacts of development are assessed before being given the go ahead. But the BPF fears the proposals may actually slow down development, and in some cases deter investors from investing in property altogether due to the additional cost and regulatory burden of complying with the Directive.
Of particular concern are three proposals which have crept into the Directive since the initial consultation, that is mandatory screening, reasonable alternatives and ongoing monitoring.
When it comes to screening there are fears that any planning application or permitted development would require a screening exercise to determine whether an EIA is even required. The BPF says this will add an immense burden to the applicant, particularly smaller and individual developers, and also to local authorities.
Although reasonable alternatives already takes place in some cases, it is simply not possible for endless alternatives of location and design to be examined, the organisations says, adding that it would involve all parties wasting an immense amount of time and money, with very little benefit.
Of most concern are proposals that would see measures to monitor the environmental effects after the project is complete for an unspecified amount of time and the BPF thinks this will deter investors, occupiers and buyers from any situation in which the property does not stay with the initial owner.