Home   Council   Strategies, plans and policies   Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment 

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:

  • agriculture
  • forestry
  • fisheries
  • energy
  • industry
  • transport
  • waste management
  • water management
  • telecommunications
  • tourism
  • 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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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'.
  3. Environmental Report outlines the findings from the SEA and is usually published and publicly consulted upon at the same time as the plan.
  4. 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.
  5. Monitoring identifies the unforeseen, adverse environmental impacts of the plan highlighting the need for remedial action.

Further 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 Determinations

Screening Assessments - Statement of Reasons

Environmental Reports

Post Adoption Statement