Simplifying EU environmental legislation: reviewing the EIA Directive?

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

The recent review of the EIA Directive was launched as part of the ‘better regulation’ agenda with the purpose to simplify procedures and reduce administrative burdens. This was combined with an attempt to further harmonise procedures in order address shortcomings in the Directive and to overcome implementation gaps in the Member States. Yet, the result illustrates the difficulties of reconciling simplification and harmonisation considering also the need for flexibility at Member State level. Despite some elements of harmonisation and potential simplification the revised Directive leaves room for different interpretations on core issues. This is likely to result in diverging
practices in the Member States as well as in further litigation on EIA matters. It is
argued that at least from the outset the review of the EIA Directive missed out on a more thorough discussion of fundamental issues linked to the character and scope of EIA such as the important distinction between the procedural functions of information gathering and participation as opposed to the substantive outcomes in terms of reducing or avoiding adverse effects. A careful discussion of the basics of EIA might have provided a better option for reconciling the objectives of simplification, harmonisation and flexibility rather than lumping everything together as simplification under the ‘better regulation’ label.
TidsskriftJournal for European Environmental & Planning Law
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)321-347
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - 2014

ID: 130563766