HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1942-3W
Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the impact of regeneration of town centres on the environment. [189237]

Keith Hill

I have been asked to reply.

There has been no overall assessment of the impact of the regeneration of town centres on the environment. However, there are statutory procedures which ensure that the impact on the environment of regeneration schemes in individual towns is assessed.

Under the provisions of Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, Sustainability Appraisal is mandatory for Regional Spatial Strategies and, at the local level, Development Plan Documents and Supplementary Planning Documents. The Sustainability Appraisal undertaken must also satisfy the requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EC). Sustainability appraisal is an iterative process that identifies and reports on the likely significant effects of the plan and the extent to which implementation of the plan will achieve the social, environmental and economic objectives by which sustainable development can be defined.

Certain categories of development, including urban development projects1, must be the subject of an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). EIA involves a systematic assessment of a project's likely environmental effects.

Thus the environmental impact of major projects and development plan proposals for town centre regeneration, are subject to careful assessment. 1Circular 2/99 Environment Impact Assessment provides guidance on the regulations that implement Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended by Directive 97/11/EC