Screening and scoping opinions

Screening opinions

Before submitting a planning application, potential applicants can apply for an opinion on whether a development should be subject to environmental impact assessment. This is called a screening opinion.

Requests should be made in writing and be accompanied by:

  • a plan sufficient to identify the land
  • a brief description of the proposed development's nature, purpose and possible effects upon the environment
  • any information or representation from the developer.

Applicants have the right to appeal to the secretary of state for a screening direction to determine whether an assessment is necessary. Screening criteria are set out in The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011. It is based upon a proposed development's characteristics, location and potential impacts. Applicants can also seek advice on the content of the environmental statement by requesting a scoping opinion.

Scoping opinions

Developers can write to us requesting an opinion on what information should be included within an environmental statement. This is called a scoping opinion.

Any requests should be accompanied by:

  • a sufficient plan to identify the land
  • a brief description of the proposed development's nature, purpose and possible effects upon the environment
  • any information or representation from the developer

We recommend that a scoping opinion is requested for all applications subject to environmental impact assessment. This helps to identify key areas which should be covered (such as noise pollution or ecological impacts), as well as avoiding subsequent delays in processing the application. Advice on the content of an environmental impact assessment is available from the environment agency website.

Submitted screening and scoping opinion documents.