Cleaner Production and Environmental Impact Assessment: a UK perspective

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  • Journal of Cleaner Production 8 (2000)

    Cleaner Production and Environmental Impact Assessment:a UK perspective

    N.N.B. Salvador a, J. Glasson b, J.M. Piper b,*a Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos, Departamento de Engenharia Civil, Rodovia Washington Luis, Km 235, 13.565-905,

    Sao Carlos SP, Brazilb Oxford Brookes University, School of Plannning, Gipsy Lane Campus, Headington, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK

    Received 15 March 1999; received in revised form 1 October 1999; accepted 2 November 1999


    The objective of this work is to discuss the links between Cleaner Production (CP) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)practices, within the perspective of the principal European legislation on these matters, which will become operational in 1999.The discussion is centred on the main opportunities and institutional problems to be faced in bringing these practices together, witha particular emphasis on the EIA practices which have been developed in the UK. A proposed procedure is outlined which bringsCP and EIA practices closer together, establishing a formal link between them so that companies develop preliminary CP proposalswithin the EIA process. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Cleaner Production (CP); Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

    1. Cleaner Production and EIAlegislation andpractices

    The preventative technological approach towardsenvironmental protection and pollution control started inthe 1970s, at the same time as the introduction ofEnvironmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which alsoproposed a preventative approach. Both gained strengthduring the 1980s and both sets of procedures are nowmoving towards a more holistic approach consisting ofstrategic, integrated measures to promote sustainabledevelopment. Examples of this include Cleaner Pro-duction (CP), in the case of the technological prevent-ative process, and Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA), within a wider EIA context.

    Cleaner Production and EIA are considered to be twoof the most important processes for environmental pro-tection and should be strengthened as much as possible.They have a number of similar characteristics(principles, objectives, procedures) and formal/legal

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 01865-483448.E-mail addresses: (N.N.B. Salvador), (J. Glasson), Piper)

    0959-6526/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.PII: S0959- 65 26 (99)00 31 7- 0

    links, to the extent that they could be associated or com-bined in practice. This could lead to the significantstrengthening of both processes. New European legis-lation relating to EIA and CP, to become operational in1999, entails some important provisions which will makethese processes more compatible. This will involve tak-ing into account, for each process, all relevant infor-mation, procedures and decisions derived from the otherprocess. The implementation of this legislation rep-resents a great opportunity to establish real and effectivelinks between these processes in practice, using second-ary and complementary regulations.

    1.1. Cleaner Production and Integrated PollutionPrevention and Control

    At the European level, whilst there is no legislationspecifically concerning CP, the major legislation on Inte-grated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), CouncilDirective 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996, encouragesthe adoption of CP practices. Although the term CP iswider than IPPC, including further issues beyond pol-lution control, the two terms are closely related andimplementation of IPPC frequently leads to CP. Othercurrent regulations and procedures, such as Eco-label-

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    ling, the Packaging and Eco-Management Audit Scheme,and the ISO-14000 standards, are also considered tohave an impact upon CP practices [1].

    IPPC Directive 96/61/EC will become operational inOctober 1999; it proposes a preventative approach andis centred on a permit application system. The integratedapproach will make possible the optimisation of pol-lution prevention and control practices. The main objec-tive of the Directive is the achievement of preventionand control of pollution arising from the activities listedin its Annex I, in order to avoid or reduce emissions tothe air, water and land from those activities. For thispurpose, it is mandatory that those types of activities,which are listed as 56 subclasses in Annex I, shall besubject to the permit application system.

    The Directive seeks to harmonise the IPPC permitapplication system with other existing environmentalprotection systems, such as EIA. Article 9 of Directive96/61/EC emphasises the need to take into account therelevant information and conclusions which result fromcompliance with current EIA Directive 85/337/EC,which makes these Directives compatible with eachother and establishes a formal link between them. How-ever, the new EIA Directive (97/11/EC) establishes amuch stronger link between IPPC and EIA, as will beseen below.1

    Cleaner Production practices have been adopted vol-untarily in the EC, most commonly as a consequence ofthe implementation of Total Quality Management(TQM) schemes and Environmental Management Sys-tems (EMS). With the advent of the IPPC Directive(96/61/EC), it is expected that more companies willimplement EMS and seek to introduce CP practices, inorder to comply with the requirements of this Directive.Thus, a significant increase and improvement of suchpractices may be expected to occur. In the UK alone,according to the [2], approx. 4300 installations will becovered by the IPPC by the time the Directive isimplemented. Whilst this number is small in the contextof the total number of UK companies, hopefully themajor (potential) polluters will be covered.

    1.2. Environmental Impact Assessment

    Council Directive 85/337/EC of 27 June 1985, on theassessment of effects of certain public and private pro-jects on the environment, has been the major legislationon EIA in the EU. The Directive requires that activitieslisted in its Annex I shall be subject to mandatory EIA.A further set of activities, listed in Annex II of the Direc-tive, are made subject to EIA on a discretionary basis,

    1 Further information and details about IPPC Directive 96/61/ECcan be found in [2].

    where Member States consider that their characteristicsso require [3].

    Directive 85/337/EC was amended by Council Direc-tive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997, which became oper-ational in March 1999 and shall apply to EIA of bothpublic and private projects, excluding projects related tonational defence. The projects or activities to be subjectto EIA are specified in Article 4 of Directive 97/11/EC,and listed in Annexes I and II of this Directive. As in theoriginal Directive (85/337/EC), the 21 activities listed inAnnex I shall be submitted to mandatory EIA in allcases. Annex II of Directive 97/11/EC, though slightlymodified and broadened, is quite similar to the corre-sponding annex of the original Directive, and lists thoseclasses of activities which may be subject to EIA, fol-lowing examination by the competent authorities (i.e. ona discretionary basis). Annex II lists over 80 activity sub-classes in 13 main categories.

    Directive 97/11/EC introduces some importantadvances in the EIA process, such as a formal consul-tation opportunity for the developer prior to the EIA,mandatory conisderation of alternatives, more detailedand specific guidance on scoping for EIA and contentof the Environmental Statement (ES), and the emphasisgiven to public participation, risk assessment and cumu-lative impacts. Although there is no formal provision forSEA under this Directive, the requirements for dealingwith indirect and cumulative impacts may result in theintroduction of SEA procedures because the assessmentof indirect and cumulative impacts must be made withinthe development context, taking into account currentPolicies, Plans and Programmes (PPPs).2

    Regarding the relationship with IPPC/CP, Article 2 ofDirective 97/11/EC explicitly states that MembersStates may provide for a single procedure in order tofulfil the requirements of this Directive and the require-ments of Council Directive 96/61/EC [5]. If MemberStates adopted this approach there would inevitably bea stronger link between EIA and IPPC/CP.3

    2. Cleaner Production and EIA in the UK

    2.1. EIA in the UK

    The implementation of the EIA process in the EU hasinvolved a variety of approaches and institutions in dif-

    2 Note that a proposed Directive on SEAreference Official Jour-nal No. C129, 25/04/97, p.14was agreed by the Council of Ministersbut no implementation date is yet foreseen. This has subsequently beenupdated by the amended proposal for a Council Directive on the assess-ment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environ-ment, COM(96)511 plus COM(99)73.

    3 More information and detailed aspects of EIA Directives85/337/EC and 97/11/EC can be found in [4,6].

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    ferent countries. In the UK, EIA has been implementedsince the 1980s through secondary legislation involvingregulations and guidance, the most important being theTown and Country Planning (Assessment of Environ-mental Effects) Regulations 1988 (Statutory Instrument1199, DoE, 1989), which constitutes the principal meansof implementation of Directive 85/337/EC [4]. Underthese regulations, EIA is carried out at local level, withinthe planning system, where the Local Planning Authority(LPA) is the competent authority playing the centralinstitutional role. The procedure is outlined in Fig. 1.

    The early steps in Fig. 1 correspond to the stage ofstudy of Alternatives/design in the EIA process. As indi-cated, the developer may choose to submit the planningapplication without an EIA/ES and this may be done as apre-application request, which is a preliminary measure.Alternatively, the developer may decide to submit theplanning application with a voluntary EIA/ES to be ana-lysed by the Local Planning Authority (LPA). In the

    Fig. 1. Planning permitting and EIA practices in the UK. Source: [7], based on [4] and [8].

    Screening stage, the LPA checks if there has been anyprevious direction from the Secretary of State (SoS)(steps 35). Where such a direction has been given, andthis has been to the effect that no EIA is required, theproject follows the normal planning application pro-cedure (i.e. without an environmental impact assessmenttaking placestep 6). If there has been no directiongiven by the SoS as to the need for EIA, then the LPAwill examine the available data and information in orderto determine whether further data or information isrequired and whether or not an EIA is required (steps710). Where EIA is not required, the project followsthe normal planning application procedure, but if EIA isrequired, the process moves to the Scoping stage.

    Steps 1113 correspond to the optional Scoping stage[4,8]. The LPA will now issue the direction that the EIAprocedure is to be carried out. In this stage, the mattersto be assessed are discussed and agreed among the inter-ested parties (developer, statutory consultees, competent

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    authority), and these may be drawn up as Terms of Ref-erence for the developers environmental consultants.The SoS is informed, documents are made available tothe public, and all Statutory Consultees who are requiredto comment are informed (step 11). Note that at thispoint, if the developer disagrees with the LPAsdecision, s/he may apply for a SoS direction (step 13),which will determine whether or not EIA is required. IfEIA is not required, the SoS so directs and the projectfollows the normal planning application procedure.Where EIA is required, the developeror his/herenvironmental consultantcarries out the EIA and pre-pares an Environmental Statement (ES) (steps 14 and15the stage of EIA/ES preparation).

    Steps 1622 correspond to the Review stage. Once theEIA is concluded and the ES prepared, the developermakes it public and submits the planning application andthe ES to the LPA for review (steps 1618). The LPAalso carries out public consultation and consults theStatutory Consultees formally (steps 2022), beforemaking a decision. The Statutory Consultees are listedin the principal EIA regulations indicated above (DoE,1989), and include: the UK environmental protectionagency, nature and heritage conservation bodies, andbodies responsible for transport and highways,amongst others.

    Next, the LPA makes its decision (step 23), based onthe ES review and including the results of consultationof the public and the Statutory Consultees. Should plan-ning permission be refused (step 24), the developer canappeal to the SoS for a final decision (steps 2528). Onthe other hand, if permission is given to proceed (step29), the project can be implemented (step 30). Steps 2329 correspond to the Decision-making stage, step 30 tothe Implementation stage, and step 31 is the Monitor-ing stage.

    During the stage of study of Alternatives/design (steps1 and 2) or EIA/ES Preparation (steps 14 and 15),developers or companies may study and propose CPpractices to be undertaken in the implementation stage.The EIA process comprises procedures of environmentalimpact prediction, evaluation and mitigation and goodtechnological choices/CP practices may have significantinfluence on the results of such procedures. On the otherhand, it is important to start developing CP assessmentsas soon as possible, in order to achieve greater efficiencyand better results. It would appear that the stages ofAlternatives/design and Preparation represent the bestopportunity to enable this to happen, because they havealways been carried out during an enterprises earlyplanning phases. However, there is no legal requirementthat the planning application, with or without EIA,should precede an application. Nor, as stated above, isthere an established link between these processes. Inaddition, EIAs tend to focus predominantly on the miti-

    gation of localised environmental impacts, and often donot consider issues such as energy and water efficiency.

    2.2. Cleaner Production and Integrated PollutionControl (IPC) in the UK

    Many major projects (e.g. energy, chemicals, variousmanufacturing projects) also require statutory consentunder separate pollution control legislation. The conceptof integrated pollution control (IPC) was introduced inPart l of the Environmental Act of 1990, which createda single system of pollution control for major industrialprocesses, covering all emissionswhether to air, wateror land. Processes subject to IPC are divided into PartA and Part B processes. For Part A, the authorisationis issued by the Environmental Agency and deals withreleases of substances to air, water and land; for a Part Bprocess, the authorisation is issued by the rel...