Vetting by ERA involves the determination whether a project falls under the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). Should vetting confirms that the project qualifies for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or for further EIA Screening, a Project Description Statement (PDS) is requested in line with Schedule II of the same Regulations. This is a report prepared by the developer/ architects/ consultants, which describes the project proposal including any operations that are to take place and the site of the development and a preliminary assessment of the likely significant effects of the proposal on the environment, among other parameters. Through the PDS it will be possible for ERA to determine whether the proposed development requires the submission of an EIA.
The Authority notifies the developer that an EIA is required if a proposal falls under Category I of Schedule I of the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). For projects falling under Category II detailed screening is carried out against the criteria outlined in Schedule III of the Regulations. This screening is based on the Guidance document on EIA screening published in 2017 by the European Commission.
Detailed screening is based on the information provided in the PDS and any other information or investigations as deemed appropriate by the Authority. This screening will determine whether the project is likely to have significant environmental impacts to the point of warranting an EIA.
There are two possible screening outcomes:
- no significant impacts are envisaged when screened against Schedule III, thus the proposal does not require the submission of an EIA, or
- significant impacts are envisaged thus an EIA procedure is required.
ERA will inform the applicant of its EIA screening decision within 30 days from the receipt of the PDS with a possibility for an extension. For proposals that require an EIA, the applicant is required to confirm to the Authority of the intention to undertake the EIA within 30 days from ERA’s decision. EIA screening decisions are made available on the ERA’s website.