The environmental assessment
Where an EA is required, an environmental report shall be prepared in which the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the plan or programme, and reasonable alternatives taking into account the objectives and the geographical scope of the plan or programme, are identified, described, and evaluated. The information to be given for this purpose is referred to in Annex I. Authorities which, by reason of their specific environmental responsibilities, are likely to be concerned by the environmental effects of implementing plans and programmes shall be consulted when deciding on the scope and level of detail of the information to be included in the report. (Art 5.)
The draft plan or programme and the environmental report shall be made available to the public and to the abovementioned authorities. These authorities and at least the public affected or likely to be affected by, or having an interest in, the decision-making subject to the Directive—including relevant non-governmental organisations, such as those promoting environmental protection and other organisations concerned—shall be given an early and effective opportunity within appropriate time frames to express their opinion on the draft plan or programme and the accompanying environmental report before the adoption of the plan or programme or its submission to the legislative procedure. (Art 6.)
The Directive also sets out rules for transboundary consultations which apply where a Member State considers that the implementation of a plan or programme being prepared in relation to its territory 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 (Art 7).
The environmental report and the opinions expressed in the consultations shall be taken into account during the preparation of the plan or programme and before its adoption or submission to the legislative procedure. The Directive does not require any specific outcome of the taking into account of the opinions expressed.
When a plan or programme is adopted, the authorities concerned, the public, and any Member State consulted must be informed. The Directive lists pieces of information that must be made available to those informed, including a statement summarising how environmental considerations have been integrated into the plan or programme and how the environmental report and the opinions expressed in the consultations have been taken into account, as well as the reasons for choosing
36 Case C-41/11 Inter-Environnement Wallonie and Terre wallonne ECLI:EU:C:2012:103, para 63.
the plan or programme as adopted, in the light of the other reasonable alternatives dealt with. (Arts 8-9.)
The Member States are required to monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of plans and programmes in order, inter alia, to identify at an early stage unforeseen adverse effects, and to be able to undertake remedial action (Art 10).
The Directive also contains provisions on its relationship with other EU legislation and on information exchange between the Member States and the Commission (Arts 11-12).