EIA related judicial review forces BEIS to review offshore licensing rules

Last week, Leadsom agreed to review the regime and to amend the related 1999 regulations. She also committed to holding a public consultation on how the changes will look.

Neil Garrick-Maidment, founder of the Seahorse Trust, argued that a drilling application by Corallian Energy Limited had not been subject to a transparent, environmental impact assessment process.

He was granted permission to bring judicial proceedings in July, after seeking a declaration from the courts that the current regulations are not fit for purpose.

The judicial review challenge came after the government agreed to the application by Corallian Energy Limited to drill for oil in Poole Bay, Dorset, which was found to be in breach of the European Unions Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, according to the Seahorse Trust.

The secretary of state has now agreed that the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipelines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999 are not fit for purpose and need to be amended.

Garrick-Maidment said he wanted to ensure that any future drilling in UK waters will be subject to proper consultation and scrutiny so that sensitive species, such as seahorses, are properly protected.

Susan Ring, partner at Harrison Grant Solicitors, which acted on behalf of Garrick-Maidment, said it became clear in the course of the proceedings that environmental impact assessment of offshore oil projects is still in the dark ages in contrast to the planning system generally.

The 1999 Reg....

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