On 24 August 2011 the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 come into force.

These new regulations replace the 1999 version. They consolidate the old law but also make a number of important changes following recent case law and the realisation that there were still elements of the EIA Directive that had not fully been transposed into English law.

The main changes include a duty, at Regulation 4(7), to give reasons for a negative screening opinion ie, that Environment Impact Assessment is not required for a project. This has been the subject of significant case law over recent years.

It is made clear that anyone may ask the Secretary of State to direct whether or not Environmental Impact Assessment is required for a proposal. This is at Regulation 4(8).

For developers, probably the most important change is that where existing development is changed or extended, the total effects of the development as a whole, once modified, have to be considered. This is now made clear in Schedule 2 (see 13 in the table at paragraph 2).

There are a number of other changes, including the addition of sites for carbon capture and storage in Schedule 2 as well as the way in which successive and subsequent applications should be dealt with.