The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Wales) Regulations 2017

Jurisdiction
CitationSI 2017/565

2017No. 565 (W. 134)

AGRICULTURE, WALES

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Wales) Regulations 2017

Made20April2017

Laid before the National Assembly for Wales24April2017

Coming into force16May2017

The Welsh Ministers are designated for the purposes of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972( 1) in relation to measures relating to—

(a) the requirement for an assessment of the impact on the environment of projects likely to have significant effects on the environment( 2); and

(b) the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora( 3).

These Regulations make provision for a purpose mentioned in that section and it appears to the Welsh Ministers that it is expedient for any reference in these Regulations to EU instruments to be construed as a reference to those instruments as amended from time to time.

The Welsh Ministers make these Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by section 2(2) of, and paragraph 1A of Schedule 2 to, the European Communities Act 1972.

PART 1

General provisions

Title, application and commencement

1.—(1) The title of these Regulations is the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Wales) Regulations 2017.

(2) These Regulations apply in relation to Wales.

(3) These Regulations come into force on 16 May 2017.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“additional environmental information” (“gwybodaeth amgylcheddol ychwanegol”) means any additional information required under regulation 12(1);

“agriculture” (“amaethyddiaeth”) has the same meaning as in section 109(3) of the Agriculture Act 1947( 4);

“consent” (“cydsyniad”) means consent granted under regulation 15;

“consultation bodies” (“cyrff ymgynghori”) means—

(a) the Natural Resources Body for Wales; or

(b) any other public authority, statutory body or other organisation which the Welsh Ministers considers has any interest in or holds any information which might be relevant to the project;

“EEA State” (“Gwladwriaeth AEE”) means a member State, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein;

“the EIA Directive” (“y Gyfarwyddeb AEA”) means Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment( 5);

“environmental statement” (“datganiad amgylcheddol”) means a statement as described in regulation 11;

“European site” (“safle Ewropeaidd”) means a site mentioned in paragraph (1)(a), (b), (d) or (e) of regulation 8 of the Habitats Regulations;

“the Habitats Directive” (“y Gyfarwyddeb Cynefinoedd”) means Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora( 6);

“the Habitats Regulations” (“y Rheoliadau Cynefinoedd”) means the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010( 7);

“project” (“prosiect”) means—

(a) the execution of construction works or other installations or schemes; or

(b) other interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape;

“project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land” (“prosiect ar dir lled-naturiol a/neu dir heb ei drin”) means a project to increase the agricultural productivity of an area of semi-natural and/or uncultivated land and includes projects to increase the agricultural productivity of such land to below the norm;

“the relevant land” (“y tir perthnasol”) means the land on which the project is to be (or has been) carried out;

“restructuring project” (“prosiect ailstrwythuro”) means a project for the restructuring of rural landholdings;

“screening decision” (“penderfyniad sgrinio”) means a decision which is made, or deemed to have been made, by the Welsh Ministers under regulation 7(1) or (7);

“semi-natural land” (“tir lled-naturiol”) means land that contains less than 25% improved agricultural species which are indicative of cultivation;

“significant project” (“prosiect sylweddol”) means a project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land or a restructuring project which the Welsh Ministers have decided or are deemed to have decided is likely to have significant effects on the environment in accordance with regulation 7(1) or (7);

“transborder project” (“prosiect trawsffiniol”) means a project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land or a restructuring project where the relevant land is situated partly in Wales and partly in England.

(2) Other expressions used both in these Regulations and in the EIA Directive or the Habitats Directive have the same meanings in these Regulations as they have in the relevant Directive.

(3) All applications, notices, notifications, representations, requests, approvals and agreements under these Regulations must be made or given in writing.

(4) “Writing” in paragraph (3), except where it applies to notices under regulation 24 or 26, includes an electronic communication within the meaning of the Electronic Communications Act 2000( 8), but notifications required to be made by the Welsh Ministers to any person may only be made by an electronic communication if the intended recipient—

(a) has used that form of electronic communication in communicating with the Welsh Ministers in respect of any provision in these Regulations, or

(b) has otherwise represented that that form of electronic communication is a means by which persons can communicate with him or her.

(5) Notices or documents required or authorised to be served, sent or given under these Regulations may be sent by post.

Application of Regulations

3.—(1) These Regulations apply to any project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land or a restructuring project, unless it is exempt in accordance with paragraph (2) or (3).

(2) These Regulations do not apply to a project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land or a restructuring project if it—

(a) is a project mentioned in regulation 3(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999( 9);

(b) constitutes development to which the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2017( 10) apply;

(c) constitutes the carrying out of improvement works by a drainage body within the meaning of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) Regulations 1999( 11);

(d) constitutes a relevant project within the meaning of regulation 3(2) and (3) of the Water Resources (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003( 12);

(e) constitutes the removal of a hedgerow as permitted by regulation 5(1) of the Hedgerows Regulations 1997( 13); or

(f) constitutes restricted works, including the erection of any building or fence, or the construction of any other work, for which consent is required under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006( 14).

(3) A project is exempt under this paragraph to the extent that the Welsh Ministers, in accordance with Article 2(4) of the EIA Directive, direct that it is to be exempt from regulations 4 to 33 of these Regulations.

(4) In the case of a project which the Welsh Ministers decide is likely to have a significant effect on a European site (either alone or in combination with other projects), the power to direct that the project is exempt under paragraph (3) is exercisable only to the extent that compliance with the Habitats Directive is secured in relation to the project.

(5) Where the Welsh Ministers propose to issue a direction under paragraph (3), they must—

(a) consider whether any other kind of assessment of the project would be appropriate; and

(b) bring to the attention of the public—

(i) the information considered in issuing the direction and the reasons for doing so, and

(ii) the information obtained from any assessment of the project under subparagraph (a).

PART 2

Screening

Requirement for a screening decision

4.—(1) A person must not commence or carry out a project on semi-natural and/or uncultivated land unless they have first obtained a screening decision permitting the project to proceed.

(2) A person must not commence or carry out a restructuring project of an extent equal to or exceeding the applicable threshold (calculated in accordance with regulation 5) unless they have first obtained a screening decision permitting the project to proceed.

Thresholds

5.—(1) This regulation provides the method for determining whether the extent of a restructuring project is equal to, or exceeds, the threshold applicable.

(2) The threshold for a type of restructuring project specified in column 1 of Schedule 1 is set out in column 2 or 3.

(3) Paragraphs (4) and (5) apply where a restructuring project consists of only one of the types of restructuring projects specified in column 1.

(4) Where a restructuring project is to be carried out wholly outside a sensitive area, the threshold applicable to it is that specified for that type of restructuring project in column 2.

(5) Where a restructuring project, or any part of it, is to be carried out in a sensitive area, the threshold applicable to it is that specified for that type of restructuring project in column 3.

(6) Where a restructuring project is made up of more than one of the types of restructuring project specified in column 1—

(a) each relevant part of the restructuring project must be assessed so as to determine the threshold applicable to that part, and

(b) if any relevant part of the restructuring project equals or exceeds the threshold applicable to that part, then the entire restructuring project is to be treated as having an extent equal to or exceeding the threshold applicable to it.

(7) In this regulation, “sensitive area” (“ardal sensitive”) means—

(a) land notified under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981( 15) as a site of special scientific interest;

(b) a property appearing on the World Heritage List kept under article 11(2) of the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage( 16);

(c) a European site within the meaning of regulation 8 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species...

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