Guidance

Environmental impact assessment inspection

Information for landowners about inspections carried out to decide if an environmental impact assessment is needed or regulations may have been broken.

Who gets inspected

Natural England may inspect your land:

  • if you’ve applied for a screening decision on the need for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a proposed activity on semi-natural or uncultivated land
  • in response to intelligence or complaints about unapproved activity on semi-natural or uncultivated land

What gets inspected

The inspector looks at the presence of priority habitats and other significant environmental features, such archaeology and landscape.

Time and length

Natural England will contact you for an initial discussion. This may rule out the need for an EIA visit.

Visits involve visual inspection and discussion with you about the activities and the land affected.

What happens next

If you applied for a screening decision:

  • the inspector’s report analyses the site’s priority habitats and other protected features, and gives a screening recommendation
  • Natural England will write to you with the screening decision - this confirms if you need to conduct an EIA including production of an environmental statement for the proposed activity

If the inspection was about unapproved activity, Natural England will take any necessary enforcement action if you’ve broken the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations. This may include prosecution.

Published 12 January 2016