Mr Alexander Camilleri from the Environment Resources Authority (ERA) gave a presentation on proposed amendments to the Directive 2011/92/EU of the Environment Impact Assessment Regulations.
Speaking during a consultation session organised by MEUSAC on Monday, November 11, 2016 at The Fortress Builders in Valletta, Mr Camilleri explained that after 25 years of application, the EIA Directive has not significantly changed, while the policy, legal and technical context evolved considerably, hence the need for revision.
The general objective of the revision is to adjust the EIA Directive to correct identified and persisting shortcomings; reflect ongoing environmental and socio-economic priorities and challenges; align with the principles of smart regulation; and reflect the accumulated ECJ case-law.
Following consultation between the European Commission and Member States, it was proposed that an improved structure and content in terms of clarity of process flow, overall logical framework, complex cross-referencing EIS/EPS, is needed. Moreover, there seems to be a need for the simplification of procedures, like for instance ‘EIA exemption’ and certification of EIA; streamlining of screening and assessment procedures; onus for managing logistics - developer, to ERA satisfaction; consolidation of decision-taking and ex-post monitoring and the strengthening of enforcement, penalties and access to justice, among others.
A number of environment consultants present expressed their views on the issue of cross-referencing and EIA certification and on the publication of the ERA case by case reports on EIAs whereby they requested that, prior to publication of such reports, draft reports should be compiled and discussed with environment consultants.
It is expected that the transposition/application in Member States of the amendments will take place on May 16, 2017. Feedback on the proposed amendments is to reach the ERA by not later than November 30, 2016, via e-mail email@example.com.
Ms Marguerite Camilleri from ERA was also present for the session.