The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a means to judge the likely impact of a public plan on the environment and to seek ways to minimise that impact, if it is significant.
Public bodies are required by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 to undertake a SEA of qualifying plans that are likely to have significant environmental effects. Qualifying plans include those which set a strategy or programme for:
- waste management
- water management
- town and country planning and/or land-use.
SEA is a key component of sustainable development:
- requiring plan makers to assess options and compare the likely effects on the environment
- ensuring that the environment is considered early and openly
- facilitating greater consideration of how different plans interact with and influence each other and the environment
- opening up the decision making process to the public
The 2005 Act identifies Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland as the statutory consultees to the SEA. Their role is to offer their environmental expertise at key stages in the SEA process.
Key stages of SEA
These stages can be summarised as follows:
- Pre-screening/screening assessment establishes whether a plan will likely have significant environmental effects and whether it requires a full SEA (ie steps 2 to 5).
- Scoping details information about the plan and its potential environmental effects and requires consultation with the statutory consultees to help identify the scope and level of assessment within the 'Environmental Report'.
- Environmental Report outlines the findings from the SEA and is usually published and publicly consulted upon at the same time as the plan.
- Post-adoption statement is produced after the plan has been adopted and set outs how the Environmental Report and consultation comments have been taken into account within the finalised plan.
- Monitoring identifies the unforeseen, adverse environmental impacts of the plan highlighting the need for remedial action.
More information can be found on the Scottish Government website.
SEA Statutory Notices
Some notices, informing the public about the findings of a SEA, are required to be published, as follows:
Screening Assessments - Statement of Reasons
- SEA Screening Shopfront Design Guidance (PDF, 133kb)
- SEA Screening Waste Recycling Guidance (PDF, 133kb)
- SEA Screening Trees Development Guidance (PDF, 133kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Rural Design Guide (PDF, 27kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Neighbourhood Design Guidance (PDF, 30kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Coastal Design Guidance (PDF, 31kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Wind Farm Development (PDF, 27kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Affordable Housing Policy - North Ayrshire Mainland Supplementary Guidance for developers (PDF, 32kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Affordable Housing Policy - Isle of Arran Supplementary Guidance for Developers (PDF, 32kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Town Centre Guidance (PDF, 30kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Town Centre Design Guidance Landscape Capacity Study for Wind Farm Development in North Ayrshire (PDF, 28kb)
- SEA Screening Report: Open Space Strategy (Word, 117kb)
Post Adoption Statement
- Local Development Plan Post Adoption Statement (PDF, 229kb)