This article was originally published in the Journal of Planning Law in September 2004.
This paper looks at the issues which will be arising in EIA legislation and litigation. The decision of the European Court of Justice in Wells delivered on 7th January 2004 requires significant changes in the approach of the English courts to EIA and may lead to legislative change. Like a stone dropped in a pond, the initial splosh may be dramatic, but the ripples will also spread far. I will try to suggest what the implications of Wells are. Overseas litigation will have an increasing influence on English caselaw. The opinion of the Privy Council in the Belize dam case, BACONGO, is imminent. I will also consider Hong Kong’s first EIA case Shiu Wing Steel. Finally, legislative change from Europe continues, with Directives on Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Aarhus Convention to be implemented. They throw up a whole new set of issues which this paper does not intend to cover.