Infrastructure plans to be assessed for environmental impacts

A directive that will require infrastructure development plans to undergo environmental impact assessments has been agreed by the EU member states' environment ministers.

The European Commission (EC) opposed the ministers’ decision, taking the view that its proposal had been excessively compromised.

Under the agreement – now proceeding to its second reading in the European Parliament -strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) will be required for all infrastructure development plans in specific sectors. It was the decision to limit SEAs to selected sectors that angered the EC.

Publication of SEAs, followed by public consultation, will be a requirement of all infrastructure development plans in the following areas:

  • agriculture
  • fisheries
  • energy
  • industry
  • transport
  • waste management
  • water management
  • telecommunications
  • tourism
  • town and country planning
  • land use

Financial or budgetary infrastructure plans will not have to conduct SEAs.

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