Environmental impact assessment guidance

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 requires that for certain planning applications, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is undertaken, and an Environmental Statement (ES) produced.

The legislation can be found on legislation.gov.uk.

An EIA is a procedure which serves to provide information about the likely effects of a proposed project on the environment, so as to inform the decision making process as to whether the development should be allowed to proceed, and if so on what terms . It also aims to ensure that the public are given early and effective opportunities to take part in the decision making processes.

You can get an overview of the EIA process which is included in the government’s Planning Practice guidance, on GOV.UK.

An EIA is normally only necessary for very large developments.

To help you decide if an EIA is needed you can ask us for a screening opinion to determine whether your proposed development needs an EIA. Specific criteria and thresholds need to be met for a screening opinion to be required. The thresholds most relevant to Tower Hamlets are over 150 homes, or sites of over one hectare for non-residential proposals.

Once it has been determined that an EIA is required, you can ask us for assistance as to what needs to be included via a scoping opinion – this is to determine the extent of the issues to be considered.

For more guidance on EIA scoping, please read our EIA scoping guidance document (pdf) which: 

  • explains what ‘scoping’ is, why it is useful and how to go about it
  • sets out our preferred approach to the scoping process and the assessment of individual environmental topics
  • provides topic based guidance on identifying the likely key issues for developments within Tower Hamlets.

Requesting a screening or scoping opinion

We recommend that you discuss your proposed development/project with our EIA officer before requesting an EIA screening or scoping opinion.

You can contact the EIA officer by:

Tel: 020 7364 3620 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday – except public holidays)
Email: planningandbuilding@towerhamlets.gov.uk