A vote has been passed by the European Parliament to amend the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
As a result, this could streamline the EIA process by lightening administrative burdens and make it easier to assess the potential impact of major projects without weakening existing environmental safeguards.
The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive has been in force since 1985 and applies to major public and private projects including non-hazardous waste treatment facilities that take more than 100 tonnes per day, airports, motorways and railway lines.
Due to the vote in the European Parliament, the assessment process may also include areas such as resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and disaster prevention.
European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “I welcome the outcome of the vote on the Commission’s proposal for a revised Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. This paves the way for much-needed changes that will modernise the current directive, in line with the REFIT agenda, improving its effectiveness and streamlining related administrative processes.
“Fundamentally, it’s a vote of confidence in what has always been one of the foundations of EU environment policy, a key piece of legislation that ensures the concerns of citizens are taken into account when important new developments are needed.
“We will now be carefully examining the proposed amendments. I look forward to working closely with the Parliament and Member States to ensure progress is made towards adopting the revised directive as soon as possible.”