The purpose of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to identify, describe and evaluate the following, at an early stage of planning, and in a transparent and objective manner:
- the environmental effects of a project on public health, fauna and flora, soil, water, air, climate, landscape, cultural heritage as well as;
- the interaction of these factors.
The EIA is a first choice instrument to apply the precautionary principle in environmental matters. The environmental impact assessment report that the project owner must submit for a project must include a description of the reasonable alternatives considered by the project owner that are relevant to the project in order to improve the quality of the environmental impact assessment procedure, and to allow the integration of environmental aspects at an early stage of the project design (technical planning and decision-making processes).
The EIA is a harmonized EU-level assessment procedure that includes, among others:
- the preparation, by the applicant, of an environmental impact assessment report (hereafter the assessment report);
- the examination of the information presented in the assessment report by the competent authority;
- information and public participation;
- the drafting of a reasoned conclusion by the competent authority.
Who is concerned
Who is concerned
The project owner submits the environmental impact assessment report for a project.
The competent authority for EIA in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the Minister for the Environment.
Carrying out an EIA usually requires the involvement of specialised engineering consultancy firms because of the particularity of the elements requested.
Projects that are subject to an EIA by default are defined by Grand-Ducal Regulation establishing lists of projects subject to an environmental impact assessment.
These lists are structured as follows:
- Annex I: Projects which are subject to an EIA by default;
- Annex II: Projects subject to an EIA when predefined thresholds and criteria are met.
Other projects are subject to an EIA only if the competent authority deems it necessary on the basis of a preliminary verification:
- Annex II: Projects subject to an EIA on a per-case basis when predefined thresholds and criteria are met.
- Annex IV: Projects subject to an EIA on a case-by-case basis.
How to proceed
Projects which are not automatically subject to an EIA ("case-by-case")
For projects that are not subject to an EIA by default the applicant must submit all necessary elements to assess the need for such a study to the Procedures and Planning Department of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development (Ministère de l’Environnement, du Climat et du Développement durable - MECDD) .
In a first preliminary verification step ("screening"), the request will be examined based on the following criteria:
- a description of the physical characteristics of the whole project and, if applicable, of demolition works;
- a description of the location of the project with particular regard to the environmental sensitivity of the geographical areas likely to be affected;
- a description of the parts of the environment likely to be strongly affected by the project;
- a description of any significant effects, insofar that information on those effects is available, that the project is likely to have on the environment, i.e. expected residues and emissions, waste generation, and use of natural resources - particularly soil, land, water and biodiversity.
Should an EIA be deemed necessary, the competent authority will take all measures required to ensure that the authorities likely to be concerned by the project through their specific environmental responsibilities are given an opportunity to express their opinion, before issuing, in a second step ("scoping"), a recommendation on the scope and level of detail of the information to be included by the developer in the environmental impact assessment report.
Projects which are subject to an EIA by default
For projects that are subject to an EIA by default, or for projects subject to an EIA when predetermined thresholds or criteria are met, the developer must provide the competent authority with information on:
- the project's specifics, such as location and technical capacity;
- the project's likely impact on the environment.
Before giving its opinion on the scope and level of detail of the information in the environmental impact assessment report that needs to be provided by the developer, the competent authority will consult other authorities with specific responsibilities for the factors to be analysed.
Contents of the assessment report
When an EIA is required, the client prepares and submits an assessment report which must contain at least the following information:
- a project description, including information about the site, design, dimensions and other relevant features of the project;
- a description of the likely significant effects the project has on the environment;
- a description of the project characteristics and/or measures envisaged to avoid, prevent or reduce, and, if possible, offset the likely significant adverse environmental effects;
- a description of the reasonable alternatives that have been reviewed by the project owner, based on the project, its specific characteristics, and an indication of the main reasons for the choice made with regard to the environmental impact of the project;
- a non-technical summary of all the information provided;
- any additional information, depending on the specific characteristics of a particular project or type of project and the elements of the environment on which impact could occur.