The government recently launched its Environmental Outcomes Reports (EORs) consultation, superseding the existing framework of strategic environmental assessments and environmental impact assessments. 

Tom Kibblewhite headshot

Tom Kibblewhite

The proposals could have a significant impact on new projects and there are several key points to get to grips with.

The aim of the EOR is to create a clearer, outcome-based system that is more streamlined, easier to navigate and a more effective tool to drive environmental priorities. It appears to be a positive move, albeit at a time when the industry is grappling with a host of legislative changes. Developers will undoubtedly be hoping the proposals help speed up planning decisions. The focus on early engagement is certainly a positive move – early appraisal of risk is essential on any scheme.

Early identification of these environmental priorities and the risk they may pose to a scheme’s design and viability will increase the chances of mitigating any issues and prevent lengthy – and potentially costly – delays.

The new EORs are likely to comprise aspects including biodiversity, noise and vibration, geodiversity, air quality and soil and sediment. As specialists in daylight and sunlight amenity impact, we also expect this to play a major role in the new framework.


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Given the rapidly approaching net zero carbon targets, we are also likely to see carbon-reduction measures incorporated. The EOR will also seek to enhance initiatives such as biodiversity net gain and local nature recovery strategies.

It is also worth noting the enhanced focus on mitigation measures, including monitoring and enforcement throughout the life of a project. It is more important than ever for developers to ensure that environmental standards are understood at the outset, and met successfully.

As always with any consultation on major changes to established frameworks, the devil is in the detail and the industry will no doubt be keen to offer its views prior to the 9 June conclusion.

Tom Kibblewhite is director of specialist chartered surveyor Proximity