How we assess the impacts of development, plans and policies, otherwise known as Environmental Assessment, is going to change with the introduction of Environmental Outcome Reports (EOR). What can we identify and learn from the current Sustainability Appraisal, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environment Impact Assessment processes? And how do ensure that the new system of assessment and the preparation of EORs works better?
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill plus the accompanying policy paper produced by Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), launched a new form of environmental assessment known as Environmental Outcome Reports (EOR). The intention is that Environmental Outcome Reports will replace the existing system of Sustainability Appraisals (SA), Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and make the process simpler, using more consistent data and focussed on measuring environmental effects against improving environmental outcomes.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill only introduced broad powers allowing new regulations and guidance to come forward. The Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities are currently consulting on Environmental Outcome Reports and how they might work.
PAS held a webinar on the 30th March to provide information on the consultation. You can view the webinar and see the presentations below.
Shifting to a new ‘outcomes based’ way of assessing impacts from development, plans, projects and policies is going to take time and PAS will be providing insights and support to councils along the journey.
To start that journey PAS, jointly with DLUHC, held a series of workshops to gather views from councils on the current challenges of undertaking Sustainability Appraisals, Strategic Environmental Assessments and Environment Impact Assessments and what can we learn from the current systems challenges and opportunities to inform the development of EOR. The views and information gathered at these workshops have been turned into a report, which will can be viewed here.
PAS wants local authority planners and members to get involved to help us decide how we best focus this support and what the priorities should be as the project evolves. You can check out the Planning for a Better Environment section of the PAS KHub forum and sign up to the PAS newsletter. You can also join our EOR Officer Group which meets regularly, if you are interested in joining then email [email protected]