Legal development

Take Five Environment Outcomes Reports

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    1. What's happened

    The Government has issued yet another consultation, asking for views on its new Environment Outcomes Reports regime.

    2. What are Environment Outcome Reports

    It's a new system of environmental assessment that will replace the existing (EU derived) Environmental Impact Assessment.

    3. Why do we need a new regime?

    The aim is to have a clearer, outcomes-based system which embraces technology and data to provide a streamlined, more easily navigable system which is less vulnerable to challenge.

    Assessment reports will be simpler and shorter and outcomes will be assessed against nationally set "indicators" which will be largely data sets based on underlying technical work and analysis, such as physical surveys and population counts. The hope is that the whole process will be faster, speeding up the grant of planning permission and enabling development.

    4. Is this a watering down of environmental protection?

    No, that's not what is proposed. New legislation will provide for "non-regression" to ensure that the new system provides just as much protection as the existing one. There will be a stronger focus on mitigation measures, monitoring and enforcement throughout the life of the project.

    5. When is this coming in?

    Not for a while yet. The powers are contained in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is making its way through Parliament at the moment. The detailed provisions will be set out in secondary legislation and further consultation is promised as part of that process.

    Views are sought on the transitional arrangements which will apply as we move into the new regime. This can often cause complications for planning applications that are being prepared or which have been submitted, but not yet decided, so it is important to keep abreast of the timeline. The current consultation ends on 9 June 2023, so there's still plenty of time to comment.

    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


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