The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

Jurisdiction: UK

Commencement: 16 July 2020 

Amends: The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 

Mini Summary

The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 implement the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. The main objective of the Directive is to promote sustainable development.



New temporary modifications are inserted into The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004. Such modifications are needed due to the restrictions on movement imposed by Coronavirus (COVID-19). 


The temporary modifications remove the requirement on the Secretary of State (SoS) or responsible authorities* to make the necessary environmental assessment report** and associated documents available for public inspection at their principal office. Instead, these documents are to be made available for inspection through a website provided by the SoS or responsible authority. The public or other consultees (including those from other EU countries) must be notified when documents are made available for inspection online. 


*The responsible authority is the authority (e.g. local planning authority) that prepared or had the plan or programme prepared on their behalf. Plans and programmes set the framework for future development projects and include those co-financed by the European Community, as well as modifications subject to preparation by an authority at national, regional or local level. 


**An environmental assessment report must describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environment as a result of the implementation of the plan or programme. Any reasonable alternative measures of the objectives and geographical scope must also be considered. 


The temporary modifications remove the requirement for the responsible authorities or the SoS to notify the public or other consultees who may be interested in the consultation that a copy of the documents may be obtained from a physical address. 


Without these amendments, the responsible authorities and the SoS would be unable to comply with their duties concerning the display and inspection of the relevant documents. 


These temporary modifications apply from 16th July 2020 until 31st December 2020. There are no changes in duties for organisations.


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