Council Directive of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of
the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment
Reference: Official Journal NO. L 175 , 05/07/1985 P. 0040 - 0048
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic
Community, and in particular Articles 100 and 235 thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (2),
Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (3),
Whereas the 1973 (4) and 1977 (5) action programmes of the European
Communities on the environment, as well as the 1983 (6) action
programme, the main outlines of which have been approved by the Council
of the European Communities and the representatives of the Governments
of the Member States, stress that the best environmental policy consists
in preventing the creation of pollution or nuisances at source, rather
than subsequently trying to counteract their effects; whereas they
affirm the need to take effects on the environment into account at the
earliest possible stage in all the technical planning and
decision-making processes; whereas to that end, they provide for the
implementation of procedures to evaluate such effects;
Whereas the disparities between the laws in force in the various
Member States with regard to the assessment of the environmental effects
of public and private projects may create unfavourable competitive
conditions and thereby directly affect the functioning of the common
market; whereas, therefore, it is necessary to approximate national laws
in this field pursuant to Article 100 of the Treaty;
Whereas, in addition, it is necessary to achieve one of the
Community's objectives in the sphere of the protection of the
environment and the quality of life;
Whereas, since the Treaty has not provided the powers required for
this end, recourse should be had to Article 235 of the Treaty;
Whereas general principles for the assessment of environmental effects
should be introduced with a view to supplementing and coordinating
development consent procedures governing public and private projects
likely to have a major effect on the environment;
Whereas development consent for public and private projects which are
likely to have significant effects on the environment should be granted
only after prior assessment of the likely significant environmental
effects of these projects has been carried out; whereas this assessment
must be conducted on the basis of the appropriate information supplied
by the developer, which may be supplemented by the authorities and by
the people who may be concerned by the project in question;
Whereas the principles of the assessment of environmental effects
should be harmonized, in particular with reference to the projects which
should be subject to assessment, the main obligations of the developers
and the content of the assessment;
Whereas projects belonging to certain types have significant effects
on the environment and these projects must as a rule be subject to
Whereas projects of other types may not have significant effects on
the environment in every case and whereas these projects should be
assessed where the Member States consider that their characteristics so
require; Whereas, for projects which are subject to assessment, a
certain minimal amount of information must be supplied, concerning the
project and its effects;
Whereas the effects of a project on the environment must be assessed
in order to take account of concerns to protect human health, to
contribute by means of a better environment to the quality of life, to
ensure maintenance of the diversity of species and to maintain the
reproductive capacity of the ecosystem as a basic resource for life;
Whereas, however, this Directive should not be applied to projects the
details of which are adopted by a specific act of national legislation,
since the objectives of this Directive, including that of supplying
information, are achieved through the legislative process;
Whereas, furthermore, it may be appropriate in exceptional cases to
exempt a specific project from the assessment procedures laid down by
this Directive, subject to appropriate information being supplied to the
HAS ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:
1. This Directive shall apply to the assessment of the environmental
effects of those public and private projects which are likely to have
significant effects on the environment.
2. For the purposes of this Directive:
- the execution of construction works or of other installations or
- other interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape
including those involving the extraction of mineral resources;
the applicant for authorization for a private project or the public
authority which initiates a project;
'development consent' means:
the decision of the competent authority or authorities which entitles
the developer to proceed with the project.
3. The competent authority or authorities shall be that or those which
the Member States designate as responsible for performing the duties
arising from this Directive.
4. Projects serving national defence purposes are not covered by this
5. This Directive shall not apply to projects the details of which are
adopted by a specific act of national legislation, since the objectives
of this Directive, including that of supplying information, are achieved
through the legislative process.
1. Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that,
before consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on
the environment by virtue inter alia, of their nature, size or location
are made subject to an assessment with regard to their effects.
These projects are defined in Article 4.
2. The environmental impact assessment may be integrated into the
existing procedures for consent to projects in the Member States, or,
failing this, into other procedures or into procedures to be established
to comply with the aims of this Directive.
3. Member States may, in exceptional cases, exempt a specific project
in whole or in part from the provisions laid down in this Directive.
In this event, the Member States shall:
(a) consider whether another form of assessment would be appropriate
and whether the information thus collected should be made available to
(b) make available to the public concerned the information relating to
the exemption and the reasons for granting it;
(c) inform the Commission, prior to granting consent, of the reasons
justifying the exemption granted, and provide it with the information
made available, where appropriate, to their own nationals.
The Commission shall immediately forward the documents received to the
other Member States.
The Commission shall report annually to the Council on the application
of this paragraph.
The environmental impact assessment will identify, describe and assess
in an appropriate manner, in the light of each individual case and in
accordance with the Articles 4 to 11, the direct and indirect effects of
a project on the following factors:
- human beings, fauna and flora,
- soil, water, air, climate and the landscape,
- the inter-action between the factors mentioned in the first and
- material assets and the cultural heritage.
1. Subject to Article 2 (3), projects of the classes listed in Annex
I shall be made subject to an assessment in accordance with Articles 5
2. Projects of the classes listed in Annex II shall be made subject
to an assessment, in accordance with Articles 5 to 10, where Member
States consider that their characteristics so require. To this end
Member States may inter alia specify certain types of projects as being
subject to an assessment or may establish the criteria and/or thresholds
necessary to determine which of the projects of the classes listed in
Annex II are to be subject to an assessment in accordance with Articles
5 to 10.
1. In the case of projects which, pursuant to Article 4, must be
subjected to an environmental impact assessment in accordance with
Articles 5 to 10, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to
ensure that the developer supplies in an appropriate form the
information specified in Annex III inasmuch as:
(a) the Member States consider that the information is relevant to a
given stage of the consent procedure and to the specific characteristics
of a particular project or type of project and of the environmental
features likely to be affected;
(b) the Member States consider that a developer may reasonably be
required to compile this information having regard inter alia to current
knowledge and methods of assessment.
2. The information to be provided by the developer in accordance with
paragraph 1 shall include at least:
- a description of the project comprising information on the site,
design and size of the project,
- a description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce
and, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects,
- the data required to identify and assess the main effects which
the project is likely to have on the environment,
- a non-technical summary of the information mentioned in indents 1
to 3. 3. Where they consider it necessary, Member States shall ensure
that any authorities with relevant information in their possession
make this information available to the developer.
1. Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the
authorities likely to be concerned by the project by reason of their
specific environmental responsibilities are given an opportunity to
express their opinion on the request for development consent. Member
States shall designate the authorities to be consulted for this purpose
in general terms or in each case when the request for consent is made.
The information gathered pursuant to Article 5 shall be forwarded to
these authorities. Detailed arrangements for consultation shall be laid
down by the Member States.
2. Member States shall ensure that:
- any request for development consent and any information gathered
pursuant to Article 5 are made available to the public,
- the public concerned is given the opportunity to express an
opinion before the project is initiated.
3. The detailed arrangements for such information and consultation
shall be determined by the Member States, which may in particular,
depending on the particular characteristics of the projects or sites
- determine the public concerned,
- specify the places where the information can be consulted,
- specify the way in which the public may be informed, for example
by bill-posting within a certain radius, publication in local
newspapers, organization of exhibitions with plans, drawings, tables,
- determine the manner in which the public is to be consulted, for
example, by written submissions, by public enquiry,
- fix appropriate time limits for the various stages of the
procedure in order to ensure that a decision is taken within a
Where a Member State is aware that a project is likely to have
significant effects on the environment in another Member State or where
a Member State likely to be significantly affected so requests, the
Member State in whose territory the project is intended to be carried
out shall forward the information gathered pursuant to Article 5 to the
other Member State at the same time as it makes it available to its own
nationals. Such information shall serve as a basis for any consultations
necessary in the framework of the bilateral relations between two Member
States on a reciprocal and equivalent basis.
Information gathered pursuant to Articles 5, 6 and 7 must be taken
into consideration in the development consent procedure.
When a decision has been taken, the competent authority or authorities
shall inform the public concerned of:
- the content of the decision and any conditions attached thereto,
- the reasons and considerations on which the decision is based
where the Member States' legislation so provides. The detailed
arrangements for such information shall be determined by the Member
If another Member State has been informed pursuant to Article 7, it
will also be informed of the decision in question.
The provisions of this Directive shall not affect the obligation on
the competent authorities to respect the limitations imposed by national
regulations and administrative provisions and accepted legal practices
with regard to industrial and commercial secrecy and the safeguarding of
the public interest.
Where Article 7 applies, the transmission of information to another
Member State and the reception of information by another Member State
shall be subject to the limitations in force in the Member State in
which the project is proposed.
1. The Member States and the Commission shall exchange information on
the experience gained in applying this Directive.
2. In particular, Member States shall inform the Commission of any
criteria and/or thresholds adopted for the selection of the projects in
question, in accordance with Article 4 (2), or of the types of projects
concerned which, pursuant to Article 4 (2), are subject to assessment in
accordance with Articles 5 to 10.
3. Five years after notification of this Directive, the Commission
shall send the European Parliament and the Council a report on its
application and effectiveness. The report shall be based on the
aforementioned exchange of information.
4. On the basis of this exchange of information, the Commission shall
submit to the Council additional proposals, should this be necessary,
with a view to this Directive's being applied in a sufficiently
1. Member States shall take the measures necessary to comply with this
Directive within three years of its notification (1).
2. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the texts of the
provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this
The provisions of this Directive shall not affect the right of Member
States to lay down stricter rules regarding scope and procedure when
assessing environmental effects.
This Directive is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Luxembourg, 27 June 1985.
For the Council
(1) OJ No C 169, 9. 7. 1980, p. 14.
(2) OJ No C 66, 15. 3. 1982, p. 89.
(3) OJ No C 185, 27. 7. 1981, p. 8.
(4) OJ No C 112, 20. 12. 1973, p. 1.
(5) OJ No C 139, 13. 6. 1977, p. 1.
(6) OJ No C 46, 17. 2. 1983, p. 1.
(1) This Directive was notified to the Member States on 3 July 1985.
PROJECTS SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 4 (1)
- Crude-oil refineries (excluding undertakings manufacturing only
lubricants from crude oil) and installations for the gasification
and liquefaction of 500 tonnes or more of coal or bituminous shale
- Thermal power stations and other combustion installations with a
heat output of 300 megawatts or more and nuclear power stations and
other nuclear reactors (except research installations for the
production and conversion of fissionable and fertile materials,
whose maximum power does not exceed 1 kilowatt continuous thermal
- Installations solely designed for the permanent storage or final
disposal of radioactive waste.
- Integrated works for the initial melting of cast-iron and steel.
- Installations for the extraction of asbestos and for the
processing and transformation of asbestos and products containing
asbestos: for asbestos-cement products, with an annual production of
more than 20 000 tonnes of finished products, for friction material,
with an annual production of more than 50 tonnes of finished
products, and for other uses of asbestos, utilization of more than
200 tonnes per year.
- Integrated chemical installations.
- Construction of motorways, express roads (1) and lines for
long-distance railway traffic and of airports (2) with a basic
runway length of 2 100 m or more.
- Trading ports and also inland waterways and ports for
inland-waterway traffic which permit the passage of vessels of over
1 350 tonnes.
- Waste-disposal installations for the incineration, chemical
treatment or land fill of toxic and dangerous wastes.
(1) For the purposes of the Directive, 'express road' means a road
which complies with the definition in the European Agreement on main
international traffic arteries of 15 November 1975.
(2) For the purposes of this Directive, 'airport' means airports
which comply with the definition in the 1944 Chicago Convention
setting up the International Civil Aviation Organization (Annex 14).
PROJECTS SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 4 (2)
(a) Projects for the restructuring of rural land holdings.
(b) Projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas
for intensive agricultural purposes.
(c) Water-management projects for agriculture.
(d) Initial afforestation where this may lead to adverse ecological
changes and land reclamation for the purposes of conversion to another
type of land use.
(e) Poultry-rearing installations.
(f) Pig-rearing installations.
(g) Salmon breeding.
(h) Reclamation of land from the sea.
2. Extractive industry
(a) Extraction of peat.
(b) Deep drillings with the exception of drillings for investigating
the stability of the soil and in particular:
- geothermal drilling,
- drilling for the storage of nuclear waste material,
- drilling for water supplies.
(c) Extraction of minerals other than metalliferous and
energy-producing minerals, such as marble, sand, gravel, shale, salt,
phosphates and potash.
(d) Extraction of coal and lignite by underground mining. (e)
Extraction of coal and lignite by open-cast mining. (f) Extraction of
(g) Extraction of natural gas.
(h) Extraction of ores.
(i) Extraction of bituminous shale.
(j) Extraction of minerals other than metalliferous and
energy-producing minerals by open-cast mining.
(k) Surface industrial installations for the extraction of coal,
petroleum, natural gas and ores, as well as bituminous shale.
(l) Coke ovens (dry coal distillation).
(m) Installations for the manufacture of cement.
3. Energy industry
(a) Industrial installations for the production of electricity,
steam and hot water (unless included in Annex I).
(b) Industrial installations for carrying gas, steam and hot water;
transmission of electrical energy by overhead cables.
(c) Surface storage of natural gas.
(d) Underground storage of combustible gases.
(e) Surface storage of fossil fuels.
(f) Industrial briquetting of coal and lignite.
(g) Installations for the production or enrichment of nuclear fuels.
(h) Installations for the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuels.
(i) Installations for the collection and processing of radioactive
waste (unless included in Annex I).
(j) Installations for hydroelectric energy production.
4. Processing of metals
(a) Iron and steelworks, including foundries, forges, drawing plants
and rolling mills (unless included in Annex I).
(b) Installations for the production, including smelting, refining,
drawing and rolling, of nonferrous metals, excluding precious metals.
(c) Pressing, drawing and stamping of large castings.
(d) Surface treatment and coating of metals.
(e) Boilermaking, manufacture of reservoirs, tanks and other
(f) Manufacture and assembly of motor vehicles and manufacture of
(h) Installations for the construction and repair of aircraft.
(i) Manufacture of railway equipment.
(j) Swaging by explosives.
(k) Installations for the roasting and sintering of metallic ores.
5. Manufacture of glass
6. Chemical industry
(a) Treatment of intermediate products and production of chemicals
(unless included in Annex I).
(b) Production of pesticides and pharmaceutical products, paint and
varnishes, elastomers and peroxides.
(c) Storage facilities for petroleum, petrochemical and chemical
7. Food industry
(a) Manufacture of vegetable and animal oils and fats.
(b) Packing and canning of animal and vegetable products.
(c) Manufacture of dairy products.
(d) Brewing and malting.
(e) Confectionery and syrup manufacture.
(f) Installations for the slaughter of animals.
(g) Industrial starch manufacturing installations.
(h) Fish-meal and fish-oil factories.
(i) Sugar factories.
8. Textile, leather, wood and paper industries
(a) Wool scouring, degreasing and bleaching factories.
(b) Manufacture of fibre board, particle board and plywood.
(c) Manufacture of pulp, paper and board.
(d) Fibre-dyeing factories.
(e) Cellulose-processing and production installations.
(f) Tannery and leather-dressing factories.
9. Rubber industry
Manufacture and treatment of elastomer-based products.
10. Infrastructure projects
(a) Industrial-estate development projects.
(b) Urban-development projects.
(c) Ski-lifts and cable-cars.
(d) Construction of roads, harbours, including fishing harbours, and
airfields (projects not listed in Annex I).
(e) Canalization and flood-relief works.
(f) Dams and other installations designed to hold water or store it
on a long-term basis.
(g) Tramways, elevated and underground railways, suspended lines or
similar lines of a particular type, used exclusively or mainly for
(h) Oil and gas pipeline installations.
(i) Installation of long-distance aqueducts.
(j) Yacht marinas.
11. Other projects
(a) Holiday villages, hotel complexes.
(b) Permanent racing and test tracks for cars and motor cycles.
(c) Installations for the disposal of industrial and domestic waste
(unless included in Annex I).
(d) Waste water treatment plants.
(e) Sludge-deposition sites.
(f) Storage of scrap iron.
(g) Test benches for engines, turbines or reactors.
(h) Manufacture of artificial mineral fibres.
(i) Manufacture, packing, loading or placing in cartridges of
gunpowder and explosives.
(j) Knackers' yards.
12. Modifications to development projects included in Annex I and
projects in Annex I undertaken exclusively or mainly for the
development and testing of new methods or products and not used for
more than one year.
INFORMATION REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 5 (1)
1. Description of the project, including in particular:
- a description of the physical characteristics of the whole
project and the land-use requirements during the construction and
- a description of the main characteristics of the production
processes, for instance, nature and quantity of the materials used,
- an estimate, by type and quantity, of expected residues and
emissions (water, air and soil pollution, noise, vibration, light,
heat, radiation, etc.) resulting from the operation of the proposed
2. Where appropriate, an outline of the main alternatives studied by
the developer and an indication of the main reasons for his choice,
taking into account the environmental effects.
3. A description of the aspects of the environment likely to be
significantly affected by the proposed project, including, in
particular, population, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic
factors, material assets, including the architectural and
archaeological heritage, landscape and the inter-relationship between
the above factors.
4. A description (1) of the likely significant effects of the
proposed project on the environment resulting from:
- the existence of the project,
- the use of natural resources,
- the emission of pollutants, the creation of nuisances and the
elimination of waste;
and the description by the developer of the forecasting methods used
to assess the effects on the environment.
5. A description of the measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and
where possible offset any significant adverse effects on the
6. A non-technical summary of the information provided under the
7. An indication of any difficulties (technical deficiencies or lack
of know-how) encountered by the developer in compiling the required
(1) This description should cover the direct effects and any
indirect, secondary, cumulative, short, medium and long-term,
permanent and temporary, positive and negative effects of the project.