Environmental Impact Assessment
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure ensures that the potential environmental impacts of project are identified, assessed, managed and reduced to acceptable levels before consent is given by the regulatory authority. We firmly believe that this is a process which, when integrated into our business, should identify and minimise the potential environmental impact of the proposed development. The Environmental Statement (ES) used to support the consent application records the EIA process that Mainstream have undertaken.
The EU EIA Directive requires that the direct and indirect effects of the project on the following factors are assessed:
- human beings, fauna and flora;
- soil, water, air, climate and the landscape;
- material assets and the cultural heritage;
Consultation is a crucial and ongoing element of the EIA process. The public can give its opinion and all results are taken into account in the authorisation procedure of the project.
The main steps in the EIA process are as follows:
The purpose of this key part of the EIA process is:
- To focus the EIA on the environmental issues and possible effects which need the most thorough attention;
- To identify those issues which are unlikely to need detailed study, and
- To provide a means to discuss methods of assessing effects and reach agreement on those most appropriate.
The Scoping Report sets the likely environmental effects that could be anticipated as a result of the proposed work and the assessment process by which these issues would be evaluated. The Report focuses the EIA on the main effects and also sets out those issues or areas where there is significant uncertainty or lack of either impact assessment information or baseline data.
A Scoping Opinion was sought from the Scottish Government as the relevant determining authority in order to agree these issues above.
The Scoping documents are available here to download.
2. Baseline Studies
These examine the environmental character of the area likely to be affected by the development. Relevant natural and man-made processes are identified which may have already changed the character of the site.
3. Predicting and Assessing Effects
Possible interactions between the proposed development and both existing and future site conditions are considered. The nature of the possible effects, e.g. positive or negative, temporary or permanent, are predicted and assessed, as well as possible cumulative and in-combination effects.
5. The Environmental Statement
In line with good practice, the ES for Neart na Gaoithe includes:
- Description of the development comprising information on the site, design and size of the development;
- Description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce, and if possible, remedy significant adverse effects (mitigation measures);
- Data required to identify and assess the main effects which the development is likely to have on the environment;
- Outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant or appellant and an indication of the main reasons for this choice, taking into account the environmental effects, and
- Non-technical summary of the above information.
6. General Assessment Methodology
Using a range of appropriate methodologies, the assessment of possible environmental effects takes into account the required construction, operation and maintenance of the new connections, substations and associated works, in relation to their sites and surrounding environs. The assessment of likely effects is based on professional judgement, using criteria defined in relation to each individual topic area. The significance of a likely effect is considered to be a function of the sensitivity of the ‘receptor' combined with the magnitude of the effect.
The EIA for Neart na Gaoithe was designed to meet the appropriate legislative requirements and support all necessary consent applications. Please click here for more information about the consenting process and requirements.