Deep Drilling Amendment Proposed for EIA (Ireland)

A review of the transposition of the European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive in Irish law, as relevant to the Marine Planning and Foreshore section of the Department, has identified that amendments to the relevant legislation are required to ensure that Point 2(d) of Annex II of the Directive (which refers to deep drillings) is adequately transposed.

The relevant legislation includes the Planning and Development Act, the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 and the Foreshore Act. As the amendments will give effect to EU law, an amending regulation under the European Communities Act 1972 is appropriate. An amendment to each of these pieces of legislation is considered appropriate.

The purpose of the amendments is to bring any deep drilling, except drilling for investigating the stability of the soil (the exception permitted by the EIA Directive) into the legislative framework. All deep drilling requiring either planning permission or a foreshore consent will have to be screened for EIA on a case by case basis by the relevant competent authority (i.e. the planning authority/An Bord Plean√°la in the case of planning applications, or the Minister in the case of foreshore consents). EIA will be mandatory in respect of such deep drilling unless the screening process determines otherwise.

The Irish Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is inviting submissions on the recently published draft European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Planning and Development) Regulations which will make these amendments.

The draft Regulations are here.

Public consultation expires 17th January 2014. Information about the consultation is found here.

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