Tidal lagoons are, by their very nature, large engineering projects. The scale of the lagoon projects proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power and their importance to the future long-term delivery of energy means that they are considered to be Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) under the Planning Act 2008.
NSIP decisions are taken by the relevant Secretary of State following a planning process that is run by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). Due to their scale, NSIP projects are required to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in line with the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2263) (as amended). Projects within Wales also require consideration under the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 (Marine Regulations). The EIA is reported as an Environmental Statement (ES), which forms part of the Development Consent Order (DCO) application to PINS.
EIA is a mechanism through which the likely environmental effects arising from a proposed development are assessed in a systematic way. It ensures that decisions made on development proposals have taken into account environmental implications, including consideration of human, biological and physical factors. It also provides a consistent approach to terrestrial and marine development proposals. The EIA process consists of several stages, as shown below.