Because of their impact on the environment, urban planning documents must be subject to environmental assessment either systematically or after a case-by-case examination by the administrative authority of the State designated for that purpose. Decree No. 2012-995 of 23 August 2012 contains the relevant regulations. The documents subject to this obligation include: - the territorial directives for sustainable planning and development (DTADD), - the master plan for the Ile-de-France region (SDRIF), - territorial coherence plans (SCOT), - local urban planning plans (PLU) and certain municipal maps. The administrative authority of the State responsible for environmental matters may be the General Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (CGEDD), the prefect of the region, the prefect of the department or the prefect of Corsica, as far as the planning and sustainable development plan of Corsica is concerned. When referred to it under the case-by-case review procedure, it shall decide within two months whether the document should undergo an environmental assessment. In all cases, the Commission shall provide an opinion on the environmental assessment and the draft document within three months of referral to the Commission.

The Decree of 23 August 2012 enters into force on 1 February 2013. However, urban planning documents whose preparation or revision procedure is particularly advanced at this date (because of the organisation of the joint meeting of associated public bodies, the debate on the sustainable development project or the public inquiry) will not be subject to the new environmental assessment rules.

Office of Mr. DAMY, lawyer, Nice Bar.