|As part of our ongoing partnership with IEMA, AECoW was invited to participate in it’s consultation on Environmental Outcome Reports through our joint Post Consent Environmental Performance Working Group. Summary key information is below and further information is on IEMA’s website here. The full final response from the Working Group is located here.
– Q12: HOW CAN WE ADDRESS ISSUES OF INEFFECTIVE MITIGATION?
“Underpinning all the above is a requirement for greater levels of enforcement by regulators. Without strong consequences for failure to deliver effective mitigation, a responsible and robust approach to project assessment and development cannot be achieved. A useful option to support enforcement may be clearly defining the role of an environmental clerk of works which should be aligned with the position statement on this by the AEcoW.”
– Q16: HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT USE MONITORING TO INCENTIVISE BETTER ASSESSMENT PRACTICE?
“IEMA and the AECoW endorse the use of an EnvCoW. A guidance paper has been developed in collaboration between the Heads of Planning Scotland (HoPS) and AECoW, and is due to be released shortly, detailing when an EnvCoW should be engaged, by who, inspection frequency and reporting requirements allowing a more universal monitoring regime beyond that of a Planning Monitoring Officer. IEMA endorses this guidance paper and believes these can be applied successfully to England. We would also suggest clarifying who is responsible for monitoring what. If the EOR commits a development to an outcome, rather than specifying detailed mitigation the developer or contractor would be responsible for monitoring their activities to comfort themselves that they are compliant with the outcome (similar to the approach regulatory agencies such as SEPA and the EA take). An independent EnvCoW would then agree that the monitoring undertaken by the developer/contractor is sufficient and independently verify that the project is meeting its obligations.”
– Q17 HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT BEST ENSURE THE ONGOING COSTS OF MONITORING ARE MET?
“A final mechanism that could be investigated is to use a modified form of planning performance agreements, but for post consent monitoring. Whereby the developer provides a ring-fenced payment to the LPA to enable them to fund the independent monitoring, for example through an EnvCoW, who will monitor the implementation of mitigations, conditions and outcomes, and report back to the LPA and statutory bodies.”