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Friday, 29 July 2011

Wilmer Place update - why no Environmental Impact Assessment?

Some of you will have seen this already but our colleagues in Lordship ward have done a helpful post regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment issue for Wilmer Place. We've pasted their post below - please do contact us if you have any questions.

Environmental Impact Assessment:

Many of you will be aware that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not being conducted into the proposed Sainsbury’s development at Wilmer Place.

We thought it would be helpful to set out why and, most importantly, to highlight that although an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required, the developer will still have submit detailed surveys and assessments to demonstrate that the proposal would not have a detrimental impact on the environment.

The circumstances, and procedures, for carrying out an EIA are set out in national legislation. This states that all large scale developments – such as oil-refineries – are required to carry out an EIA.

For smaller developments an EIA is only required if they:
- Are located wholly or partly in a sensitive area (national parks, scheduled monuments, World - - Heritage sites etc); and/or
- Exceed one of the thresholds set out in legislation.

With regards to the latter, the legislation states that projects on sites over 0.5 hectares may require an EIA to be carried out.

The proposed Wilmer Place development is 0.51 hectares.

Having determined that a development exceeds one of the thresholds; national guidance advises local authorities to assess whether the development will have a “significant environmental impact” before determining if an EIA is required.

To do this, a local authority has to consider three key criteria:
- Characteristics of development (size, use of natural resources, production of waste, pollution and nuisances and risk of accidents);
- The environmental sensitivity of the development;
- The characteristics of the potential impact (extent, magnitude, probability, duration, frequency and reversibility).

There are also three additional cases where the Secretary of State has indicated that an EIA is required on smaller developments. These are:
a. Major developments of more than local importance
b. Developments which are proposed for particularly environmentally sensitive or vulnerable locations; and/or
c. Developments with unusually complex and potentially hazardous environmental effects.

In respect of point a. the Wilmer Place proposal is not considered to be more than local importance. In terms of b. and c. the proposal does not lie within an environmentally sensitive area as defined in legislation, nor does its operation involve unusually complex and potentially hazardous environmental effects.

The site does, of course, sit within the Stoke Newington Conservation Area with No’s 193 – 201 Stoke Newington High Street forming part of a longer terrace of properties recognised as being of ‘Townscape Merit’ and 183 – 187, 189 and 191 Stoke Newington High Street being all GradeII*Listed.

Despite this, it is still not considered that the proposal triggers any of the criteria set out above.

Overall is it judged that by reason of its nature, size, or location, the Wilmer Place development is not likely to have a significant effect on the local environment. Therefore, an EIA is not required to be submitted together with the planning application.

It is important to note that, as aforementioned, this does not mean that the developer can ignore environmental issues. They will still have to submit detailed surveys and assessments to demonstrate that the proposal would not have a detrimental impact on the environment.

These include:
- Design and Access Statement,
- Planning Statement,
- Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment,
- Daylight / Sunlight Assessment,
- Ecological Survey,
- Sustainability Statement,
- Renewable Energy Statement,
- Code For Sustainable Homes / BREEAM pre-assessment reports,
- Heritage Statement,
- Air Quality Assessment,
- PPG24 Noise Assessment,
- Transport Statement,
- Retail Impact Assessment,
- Affordable Housing Statement,
- Financial Viability Appraisal / Three Dragons Toolkit Appraisal, and
- Contaminated Land Desktop Study report.

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