An environmental assessment ensure that the environmental implications of a project are evaluated and taken into account. Environmental assessments can be undertaken for individual projects on the basis of Directive 2011/92/EU (EIA Directive) or for public plans or programmes on the basis of Directive 2001/42/EC (SEA Directive). Both Directives ensure that plans, programmes and projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are subjected to an environmental assessment prior to their approval or authorisation.
According to the EIA Directive the national authority determines whether and which geothermal drilling projects should be subject to an environmental impact assessment.
A geothermal project has to comply with Directive 92/43 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive). In accordance with Article 6 (3) of the directive, if a proposal is considered to have a significant effect on the conservation objectives of a Community Site an appropriate assessment will be required.