Natural England - Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) regulations

Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) regulations

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2006 Act protect uncultivated land and semi-natural areas from being damaged by agricultural work, and guard against possible negative environmental effects from the restructuring of rural land holdings.

Expiry of Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) agreements
When your ‘Classic’ agri-environment scheme expires, please consider what impact a change in your operation may have on the environment. The EIA Agriculture Regulations 2006 cover land which has been uncultivated for 15 years and/ or which is a semi-natural area.

You may need to apply for a decision from Natural England if your proposals would change the status of the land. Please contact your Natural England advisor or the EIA helpline for further advice.

What types of work are covered by the regulations?

The regulations cover two different types of project:

  • Projects on uncultivated land, or semi-natural areas that increase its productivity for agriculture. The types of work covered will include:
    - increasing levels of fertiliser or soil improvers
    - sowing seed
    - physically cultivating the soil (by ploughing, tine harrowing, rotovating etc)
    - draining land
    - clearing existing vegetation either physically or using herbicides.

  • Projects that physically restructure rural land holdings. This includes:
    - the addition or removal of field boundaries
    - recontouring the land through addition, removal or redistribution of earth or other material.

We recommend you check your project against the details given in the EIA public guidanceexternal link (26 November 2012).

How might the regulations affect you?

Before beginning your proposed work you will need to consider whether it constitutes either an uncultivated land project or a rural restructuring project. In both cases, you will need to apply to Natural England for a screening decision.

We then have 35 days to consider whether the project can proceed or will require consent. Consent will be necessary only if we believe that the project is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Further details are given in the Frequently Asked Questionsexternal link (26 November 2012).

What do you need to do if you want to apply for an EIA screening decision?

There are three Application forms for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Decision forms:

If you apply for a screening decision, will this information be made public?

Paragraph 8(4)(b) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations requires that we must enter screening decisions in a register, to which the public must have access at all reasonable times.

In order to meet this requirement, we have made the Public Register: (2.03mb)pdf document available online.

This register will be updated regularly and each revised version will clearly display the date of last modification. Any queries about the register should be directed to the EIA Unit of Natural England.

How can you find out more about the legislative background to the regulations?

For more information on the EIA (Agriculture) Regulations, please see the following documents:

Alternatively, please contact the EIA Unit for project-specific guidance. Contact details are shown below.

Public guidance

Natural England’s guidance on the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations 2006 has been reviewed to incorporate amendments as a result of experience as to how the Regulations have been applied over the last 5 years. We carried out a consultation with our customers and have taken their comments and views into account. The updated version is now available:

How can you contact Natural England for more advice on the regulations?

Freephone helpline: 0800 028 2140

Notice of applications for consent received by Natural England

Other types of EIA

Forestry - The Forestry Commission administers the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999. For more details see the Forestry Commissionexternal link.

Planning, building and the environment - Local authorities administer the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, see Circular 02/99: Environmental impact assessmentexternal link (Department for Communities and Local Government). You can search for your local authority on GOV.UKexternal link.

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