Environmental Impact Statement: the authorisation that looks out for the environment

The majority of the construction projects of facilities for the electricity transmission grid require, among other authorisations, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

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The EIS, as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure is the ruling of the competent authority in environmental matters, which authorises, or not, the developer to proceed with the construction of new electricity transmission infrastructure.

In said report, it is determined, taking into consideration the foreseeable environmental impacts, whether or not to proceed with the projected works for the improvement of the electricity transmission infrastructure and, if so, the measures to be adopted in order to guarantee the protection of the environment and natural resources.

This statement shall be made public in all cases and its resolution could be: negative (the authority considers the project in question unacceptable from an environmental point of view), absolutely positive (environmental authority expresses its full conformity with the project) or conditioned positive (the environmental authority considers the project acceptable so long as a series of environmental protection measures are adopted during its construction and usage).

In accordance with that set out in Law 21/2013, of 9 December, on environmental assessment, the EIS is a mandatory and decisive report, which implies that it is not possible to continue with the administrative permitting process for approval of the project submitted until the EIS is resolved; a step that is necessary for the competent government authority responsible for deciding the resolution of the project to be able to establish the criteria regarding the issues encompassed in the EIS.

In accordance with today’s current legislation in force, in order for a project to move forward and get underway, in addition to the EIS, it must also have the prior Administrative Authorisation, the Administrative Authorisation for construction, the Declaration of Public Utility and the Authorisation for Operation (Commissioning Document).