ecosulis new Environmental Planning Services and recent changes to the planning system

Posted by on 2/08/2010

This year Ecosulis ltd is pleased to announce that it has significantly strengthened the depth and quality of the service it offers developers. As we move into our third decade of commercial operation we have diversified our survey and assessment capability by developing an in-house Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and environmental planning project management service.

New EIA Project Management Service
Ecosulis ltd have been planning the establishment of this new division for a number of years.  The rationale behinds its establishment has been to listen to our clients ensuring that our service offering is competent, flexible and competitively priced.  The approach Ecosulis ltd adopt is to concentrate on providing the best EIA project managers and build teams around the needs of projects from their extensive portfolio of national expert contacts built up over 20 years of business. By limiting in-house staff to project management and Ecological expertise Ecosulis ltd can test the marketplace ensuring the services it offers are competitively priced.

Rod Ellison who heads up the team has experience of working on a diverse range of projects successfully submitted through a number of regulatory regimes.  Rod is one of the UK’s leading energy sector EIA specialists and has gained his experience from working for one of the UK’s largest environmental consultancies and an international power specialist. In recent years Rod has worked on some of the country’s largest energy projects.

The Green paper – Summary of Key Changes
He and the team are currently paying close attention to the major changes proposed to the planning system by the Coalition government.  At the heart of these changes is the philosophy of ‘Open Source Planning’ and decentralisation.  What this term constitutes is set out in the Conservative Party’s Green Paper No.14.  In a nutshell it involves the following changes to the planning systems:

  • Nationally - simplifying and reconfiguring
  • Regional – largely removed bar waste and mineral plans
  • Locally – Plans to be re-drafted on the basis of local consultation
  • Neighbourhoods – trying to engender greater public involvement

Information on the proposed changes is strategic in nature and chiefly serves to outline the direction of travel rather than the finer detail. The proposed timetable to realise this shift in emphasis is detailed in the Department for Communities and Local Government Draft Structure Reform Plan (July 2010).

EIA Regulations amended again 
The Town and Country Planning Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2008 are now in force amending the 1999 Regulations. The amendments now require an EIA to be performed when planning permission is applied for, at both outline and reserved matters stage (if it has not been possible to carry out the assessment - or complete it - at the initial stage). Therefore EIA’s may be required at the subsequent application stages of multi-stage consents, i.e. at the reserved matters stage of an outline planning application, irrespective of whether an EIA has already been undertaken.  Clearly the implications of the amendment are far reaching and on a recent project Rod Ellison recently assist a residential developer who was required to submit an EIA to discharge a planning condition for a development which had not required an EIA to accompany the outline application.  If you would like more detail on the implications of this amendment we would be happy to advise you further.

Seasonal Reminder

  • Passage Bird Survey commence August/September and March/April
  • Wintering Bird Survey commence September, to be completed in March

The methodology for bird surveys varies according to project type and local sensitivities.  It is prudent to agree, as one would do for types of ecological surveys methodology prior to the commencement of surveys.  Clearly with the passage surveys commencing in August now is the time to commence consultation if possible.