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Planning and Building Standards

Strategic Environmental Assessments

This page provides an explanation of what a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is, its stages, and what SEAs have been completed by the Development Plans Team.

Strategic Environmental Assessments

What is a Strategic Environmental Assessment?

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been introduced into Scottish legislation through the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 which implements Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament.
  • The Directive requires a formal Environmental Assessment of certain Plans, Programmes and Strategies which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment.
  • The aim of a SEA is to increase the consideration of environmental issues during decision making in relation to the corresponding plan, programme or strategy and to improve public participation in the process.

What SEA's have been prepared by the Development Plans Section?

The following SEAs have been prepared by the Development Plans team:

What are the Phases of a SEA?

There are 4 distinctive phases involved in the SEA process:

1. Screening

Plans, Programmes and strategies are screened against the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, to identify if they are likely to have a significant effect on the environment.

If the likelihood of potential significant environmental effects are identified the SEA moves onto the scoping phase.

2. Scoping

The scoping phase identifies the scope and level of detail of the Environmental Assessment.  It outlines the environmental issues to be taken into consideration during decision-making.

The scoping process also identifies the:

  • methods to be used;
  • organisations and/or individuals to be consulted during the assessment; and
  • timing and length of the consultation period.

3. Environmental Report

The environmental report binds together the consultation responses and the results of the Environmental Assessment.  It identifies, describes and provides an evaluation of the likely significant effects (negative and positive) on the environment as a result of implementing a plan, policy or strategy.

It also seeks to provide reasonable alternatives and sets out measures to prevent, reduce and fully as possible offset any adverse significant environmental effects that have been identified.  The environmental report also identifies a monitoring strategy which sets out appropriate steps to ensure that there is no unforeseen adverse effects resulting from the Plan, Programme or Strategy.

Once the above is taken into account the Plan, Programme or Strategy can be formally adopted.

4. Post Adoption

Provides information on the adopted Plan, Programme or Strategy, how consultation comments and environmental considerations have been taken into account within the adopted Plan, Programme or Strategy.

Baseline Data

The most recent baseline data collected for use in the preparation of our SEA reports can be downloaded using the link given in the Related documents section alongside the State of the Environment Report.


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