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Strategic EIA (SEA)

formalised, systematise and comprehensive process of evaluating the envt impacts of POLICY PLAN OR PROGRAMME including the preparation of a written report of the findings of that evaluation and using the findings in publicity accountable decision making



governments objectives and preferred means of achieving them


Plan and programmes

set of related actives and expenditures which give effect to policies


moving towards SEA

nertherlands set yo statutory SEA system in 1987

New zealand authorities have required SEA since 1991

Uk via changed in policy also SEAs of the MoD strategic defence review and the DTIs proposals for future oil and gas production

European Union directive in 2001: implementation 21st July 2004


project EIA reacts

it cannon direct applications to appropriate locations or away from sensitive areas it merely aids the process of acceptance or rejection


project EIA fails to adress cumulative impacts of several

additive effects of several small projects (A+A+A=3A)

interactive (A+B=C) or synergistic effects of several projects (A+A>2A)
(sunlight +NOx+ hdrocradbons---> Smog_

thresholds - i.e. level of pollution a water course can tolerate

induced impacts- secondary infrastructure around airports to motorways


alternatives only receive limited attention at project tlevel

often considered as an add on (similar problems with mitigation measures)



project EIA is financially and temporally contrasted: advanced planning should be less so


public consultation

limited by time and money in project EIA more immediately accountable if carried out by government


project EIA vs Strategic EA

Project EIA largely reactive and constrained

strategic EA (SEA) is proactive and should be less constrained


Objectives of SEA

consider alternatives fully- early

consistency across policy sectors

cumulative secondary impacts

anticipate adverse impacts and prevent them

save time and money at project level- dealing in advance

intergrate principals such as sustainability into policies



decision making at PPP level is often made incrementally

-high level decisions lead to potentially huge numbers of lower tier decisions
- system boundaries: not always clear

lack of information about bother proposal and future envt conditions therefore hard to quantify impacts

political considerations


Temporal and spatial scales

is 10 year impact significant in a 100 year plan?

1000 acres impact significant in a 200000 acre projecT?

lack of established criteria for significance

data used often speculative: lack of information can lead to incorrect assumptions



-generational- decades?
-decisionsal- weeks, months, years

(both at mercy of data getting out of date, policy changed, resources or finance running out)

How big an area?
Local authority
catchment/ sediment cell. landscape unit


UK experience

1980s policy reviews - ad hoc reviews of operational efficiency with a primary focus on costs

Policy appraisal and environment (1991)

aimed at central government

set out podecdues and techniques

heacy emphasis on coast/benefit approach

little requirement for public involvement

sectoral approach leads to lack of intergration

Planning policy guindace Note (1992)

linked local council development plans with the objective of SD

required local authorities to have regard for envy considerations

by 1996 180 appraisals of development plans had been carries out but quality of the appraisal was variable


EU directive 2001/42

original draft- applied to planning strategies
would apply to PPPs

Final versino- restrictive to plans and programmes within town and country planning system and specifically names actors

mainly aimed at local governments but also operates on EU policies

includes mandatory scoping, consultation review and monitoring

limited but s step in the right direction (not much on sustainability, carrying capacity of envy monitoring of effects)


UK guidance

1 setting context/ establishing baseline

2 establish scope and developing alternatives

3 assess effect of the plan (incl transboundary)

4 consult on result

5 monitor effects of implementing the plan


gneral principles of sustainability appraisal

full environmental appraisal of the development plan

extend appraisal so that it covers all four sustainable development objectives

4 pillars
-social progress
environetal protection
prudent use of natural resources
economic growth


Therivel and Walsh 2006

limited experience 56% of LPA have only produced one report

19% delegated entirely to consultants (mixed effectiveness)

evidence- based approach not always happening. expert opinion used most rather than data driven methods

mixed views on effectiveness of consultation and low response rates

costly 70-80 days

but 84% left to changed to plans


Test Valley Borough council local plan

plan submitted to a sustainability appraisal

itemised so each policy is assessed individually

overall aim of local plan 2006:

provide a framework for making decisions about development in the Borough which
- respects the envy
-meets need of community
-and enhances quality of life

policy tested against 8 local plan objectives

concentrate development in and around existing settlements and protecting the countryside

protect and conserve the natural and build went incl wildlife, landscapes, natural resources and cultural heritage

avoid hazards, meet housing needs, reduce overall travel needs, enhance built envt, quality of life


Method - Test Valley council

public consultation (notices, exhibitions, consultees)

expert evaluation

Scoring from potentially v positive to potentially severe negative/ adverse impact


strategic gaps

maintain areas of open and undeveloped land between settlements, in order to keep indiivusal settlements separate and distinct

provide clear visual and physical breaks in an otherwise continuous built up area with a population of over one mil people

developers have to demonstrate why it wouldn't be more suitable in another location

not permit development that would physically or visually diminish the strategic gaps


Scottish marine renewables SEA

commissioned by the Scottish executive

SEA to assess the envy effects of harnessing up to 10% of Scotland electricity need from marine renewable energy sources by 2020

help develop renewables policy and provide information to help developers with individual projects

potential for energy generation within the study area (W coast of scotland, peatland girth, orkney and shetland) considerable

new tech are being developed to convert waves and tides into energy (floating, partially submerged, on sea bed)

individual and cumulative environmental impacts were assessed

ISSUES: marine mammals, seas- common seal 40% decline in the study area since 2011
diving birds- black throated divers amber list species
other seabirds most declining
fisheries- declining traditional industry but over 2000 fishing boats in scotland
importanct employer in coastal towns
awaculture also important

Marine archaeology and coastal landscape
-cost and sea of high cultural value
-wrecs of boats, ships, submarines, aircraft
-submerged settlements and historic landscapes
-toursit resource- 3000 visitors each year dive on the wrecks of German high seas fleet scuttled in scope flow, orkney.


main deliverables of SEA

baseline situation


assessment of the effect

mitigation measures

documentation of the findings from SEA

advice and support to the scottish executive in the prepariation and implementation of its strategy for marine energy

monitoring requirements and web based information resource



like early days of project EIA has come as challenge to planners

UK- uncle whether it will have much effect in achieving SD -early signs is that will lead to improvements to plans

sustainable appraisal is employed to local plans, SEA to emerging strategies


OECD 2006- Applying Strategic EA - good practice guidance for development co-operation

Developing countries: ensure envt considerations taken into account, establish envt assessment tools at the project level, complimented by approaches fully adapted to policies, plans and programmes. SEA= meets needs.

SEA practical and direct means of progressing MDG 7-envt sustainability

paris declartation on aid effectiveness (2005) -develop and apply common approaches for strategic envy assessment at sector and national levels

SEA allows to apply to policy, plans and programmes more easily than EIA.- compliments EIA rather than substitutes

SEA ensures management of natural resources and provide the foundations for sustainable economic growth - intern support political stability.


EIA and sustainable development
Key concepts and tools

SEA is much more likely to promote sustainable development than project level EIA- most strategic decision have already been taken one a proponent begins articulating the need of a specific project.