Read this section which gives an overview of European environmental assessment and the EIA Directive.
Environmental assessment is a procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before the decisions are made. Environmental assessment can be undertaken for individual projects, such as a dam, motorway, airport, or factory, on the basis of Directive 2011/92/EU (known as 'Environmental Impact Assessment' – EIA Directive) or for public plans or programs on the basis of Directive 2001/42/EC (known as 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' – SEA Directive). The common principle of both Directives is to ensure that plans, programs, and projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are made subject to an environmental assessment, prior to their approval or authorization. Consultation with the public is a key feature of environmental assessment procedures.
The Directives on Environmental Assessment aim to provide a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation of projects, plans, and programs with a view to reducing their environmental impact. They ensure public participation in decision-making and thereby strengthen the quality of decisions. The projects and programs co-financed by the EU (Cohesion, Agricultural, and Fisheries Policies) have to comply with the EIA and SEA Directives to receive approval for financial assistance. Hence the Directives on Environmental Assessment are crucial tools for sustainable development.
This website provides information on the European Union's laws on Environmental Impact Assessment of public and private projects and the Environmental Assessment of public plans and programs together with other related information.
The Group of EIA/SEA National Experts brings together environmental experts from national administrations and meets twice per year. The role of the Group is to provide advice and expertise to the European Commission in relation to the coordination and cooperation with Member States, the implementation of the EIA/SEA Directives, and the preparation of legislative proposals and policy initiatives.