What is an EIA and when is it needed?

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 of the EIA (Scotland) Regulations 2017 will 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 of the EIA (Scotland) Regulations 2017 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. The criteria for determining whether EIA is required for a Schedule 2 development type is included within Schedule 3 of the regulations. 

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. If an EIA Report is required, a request for a scoping opinion can be made. More information can be found on our requesting a screening or scoping opinion page.  

For projects that do require an EIA, developers can also ask us for a scoping opinion, which sets out details of what issues should be included in the assessment.

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