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The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007

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PART 2Screening

Requirement for a screening decision

4.—(1) A person must not begin or carry out an uncultivated land project or a restructuring project of an extent which is equal to or exceeds the threshold applicable to it (calculated in accordance with regulation 5) unless he has first obtained a screening decision permitting the project to proceed.

(2) A person must not begin or carry out any uncultivated land project or restructuring project on land to which a relevant screening notice applies unless he has first obtained a screening decision permitting the project to proceed.

(3) In this regulation “relevant screening notice” means a screening notice which states that it applies to the type of project which is to be carried out.

Thresholds

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

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

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

(4) Where a project is to be carried out wholly outside a sensitive area, the threshold applicable to it is that specified for that type of project in column 2 of Schedule 1.

(5) Where a 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 project in column 3 of Schedule 1.

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

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

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

Screening notices

6.—(1) The Department may by notice direct that thresholds under these Regulations do not apply to an area of land specified in the notice by serving a notice under this regulation.

(2) The Department may only serve a screening notice if—

(a)it reasonably believes that a project is likely to be carried out on the land;

(b)the extent of the project would fall below the threshold applicable to it under these Regulations in the area where it would be carried out; and

(c)it considers, in accordance with the selection criteria in Schedule 2, that the project would be likely to have significant effects on the environment.

(3) A screening notice cannot—

(a)apply for more than five years from the date it is served; or

(b)relate to an area of land which is greater than the area on which the Department reasonably considers the project is likely to be carried out and in any event—

(i)in the case of a notice relating to uncultivated land projects, to an area greater than 2 hectares, or

(ii)in the case of a notice relating to restructuring projects, to an area greater than 100 hectares.

(4) A screening notice must—

(a)state whether it applies to—

(i)uncultivated land projects,

(ii)restructuring projects, or

(iii)both such projects;

(b)contain the reasons why it is being served;

(c)contain details of the land to which it applies and, in the case of a screening notice which applies to both uncultivated land projects and restructuring projects, details of which land is covered by which aspect of the notice;

(d)contain the date on which it expires; and

(e)explain the procedures for appealing against it.

(5) A copy of the screening notice must be served on every owner and occupier of the land.

Application for a screening decision

7.—(1) An application for a screening decision must—

(a)be made to the Department;

(b)contain a plan sufficient to identify the relevant land;

(c)contain a brief description of the nature, extent and purpose of the project and of its possible effects on the environment;

(d)contain any other information or representations as the applicant may wish to provide or make.

(2) If the Department considers that it does not have sufficient information to make a screening decision it may ask the applicant to supply any additional information it requires.

(3) The Department must notify the applicant of the date on which it received the application for a screening decision.

The screening decision

8.—(1) The Department must, in accordance with paragraph (2) and the selection criteria in Schedule 2, decide whether or not a project is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

(2) If the Department decides that a project is likely to have a significant effect on a European site (either alone or in combination with other projects), or Area of Special Scientific Interest, and the project is not directly connected with or necessary for the management of the site, the project shall be treated as being likely to have significant effects on the environment.

(3) Before making a screening decision, the Department may consult any of the consultation bodies.

(4) After making a screening decision, the Department shall—

(a)notify the applicant in writing of the decision, giving reasons for the decision;

(b)enter the decision in a register, to which the public shall have access at all reasonable times; and

(c)where it considers that any of the consultation bodies might wish to be informed of the screening decision, notify those bodies of it.

(5) The Department must make a screening decision, and notify the applicant of it, within 35 days, or such longer period as it may agree with the applicant, of either—

(a)the date referred to in regulation 7(3); or

(b)where applicable, the date the Department receives any additional information it has requested under regulation 7(2),

whichever is later.

(6) If the Department has failed to make or notify a screening decision within the period in paragraph (5), the applicant may notify the Department that he intends to treat that failure as a decision that the project is a significant project.

(7) Where the applicant has so notified the Department, the Department is deemed to have decided on the date of that notification that the project is a significant project.

(8) If, after the Department has made, or is deemed to have made a decision that the project is a significant project—

(a)the Department receives further information or representations; and

(b)as a result of that further information or those representations the Department decides that the project is not a significant project,

the Department must take all the steps in paragraph (4) in respect of that new decision.

(9) If the project to which a screening decision relates is not begun within a period of three years beginning with the date the screening decision is notified to the applicant, or is deemed to have been taken under paragraph (7), the screening decision shall cease to have effect.

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