J&E Survey: Environmental impact assessment procedures in Member States still exhibit shortcomings
January 15, 2018
Although the transposition process of environmental impact assessment (EIA) Directive 2014/52/EU, which Member States needed to complete by May 2017, did revive much-needed discussions on impact assessments and resulted in some new legislative solutions at the national level, several problems with EIA procedures remain.
NGO Justice and Environment (J&E) has followed the transposition of the EIA Directive for the last two years. During that time J&E has carried out two surveys and collected best practices  of selected Member States. While the 2016 survey  reflects how the national laws comply with the requirements of the revised EIA Directive , the latter one  completed in December 2017 focused on whether the new national rules actually enable an improved EIA process and reports of better quality.
The 2017 survey specifically identified several weaknesses in EIA procedures that still need improvement and thus further targeted attention. Improvements to the quality of EIA procedures in Member States cannot be achieved by changes to legislation alone, but must be combined with the application of best practices.
Siim Vahtrus, Chairman of J&E, said:
“Based on our surveys, we see that the transposition of EIA Directive has had some positive impacts in Member States. However, it has not resulted in certain changes which are needed to make EIA procedures reliable and adequate to serve the purpose of protecting the people and natural environment. One of the most crucial soft spots in the system is the financial dependence of consultants on investors. In addition, there still remain significant drawbacks in enabling meaningful public participation, ensuring documentation is “up to date”, avoiding duplicative assessments, and ensuring the high qualification of EIA consultants.”
Justice and Environment will continue its work in the field of environmental impact assessment, hoping to bring about the needed changes in the currently deficient – and sometimes even unlawful – practices taking place in EIA procedures in some Member States. The European Commission has recently received J&E’s note on the transposition of the amended EIA Directive , which aims for a tighter cooperation with Commission on this issue in the coming years.
Notes for Editors:
 Regulation of EIA procedures. Survey made in Member States on how the national laws comply with the requirements of the revised EIA Directive. (2016) Surveys by country: Austria, Estonia, Czech republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.
 Notification on the transposition of the amended EIA Directive to the European Commission. (January 4, 2018)
Established in 2003, Association Justice and Environment (J&E) is a European network of environmental law organizations that strives to protect the environment and nature by improving environmental legislation and enhancing the enforcement thereof.
For more information, please contact:
Siim Vahtrus, Chairman, J&E, chairman(at)justiceandenvironment.org, phone +372 5568 3880
Katre Liiv, Communications Officer, J&E, communications(at)justiceandenvironment.org, phone +372 5076519