East Lothian Council

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

What is EIA and when is it needed?

Torness Power Station

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a means of drawing together an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects arising from a proposed development in a systematic way.  It ensures that the environmental implications of decisions on development proposals are taken into account before the decisions are made.

Developments falling within a description in Schedule 1 to the 2017 EIA Regulations always require EIA.  These tend to be larger developments or those with potentially the most significant environmental effects, such as airports, oil refineries, or motorways.  Development of a type listed in Schedule 2 to the 2017 EIA Regulations may require EIA.  This depends on whether it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, by virtue of factors such as its size, nature or location.  Schedule 2 development can include things such as wind turbines, certain industrial developments, golf courses, larger housing proposals, and a wide range of other types of development.

To confirm whether a project needs an Environmental Impact Assessment developers can ask for a formal 'screening opinion' from the Council.  For projects that do require an EIA, developers can also ask the Council for a 'scoping opinion', which sets out details of what issues should be included in the assessment.  The Council keeps copies of these EIA screening and scoping opinions in a register.

More information on EIA screening and scoping and the Council's screening and scoping registers can be accessed via the links below.

Additional information and advice about EIA can also be found on the following external links:


East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.