Talk:Strategic Environmental Assessment

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Review by Job Dronkers (January 2013)

Full information on the provisions of the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment directive and the ensuing obligations for the EU member states can be found on the EU SEA website. A few essentials are reproduced below:

EU SEA procedure

An environmental report is prepared in which the likely significant effects on the environment and the reasonable alternatives of the proposed plan or programme are identified. The public and the environmental authorities are informed and consulted on the draft plan or programme and the environmental report prepared. As regards plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment in another Member State, the Member State in whose territory the plan or programme is being prepared must consult the other Member State(s). On this issue the SEA Directive follows the general approach taken by the SEA Protocol to the UN ECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.

EU Legislation

A SEA is mandatory for plans/programmes which are prepared for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste/ water management, telecommunications, tourism, town & country planning or land use

  • that set the framework for future development consent of projects listed in the EIA Directive;
  • that require an assessment under the Habitats Directive.

Difference with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure

The SEA and EIA procedures are very similar, but there are some differences:

  • the SEA requires the environmental authorities to be consulted at the screening stage;
  • scoping (i.e. the stage of the SEA process that determines the content and extent of the matters to be covered in the SEA report to be submitted to a competent authority) is obligatory under the SEA;
  • the SEA requires an assessment of reasonable alternatives (under the EIA the developer chooses the alternatives to be studied);
  • under the SEA Member States must monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of plans/programmes in order to identify unforeseen adverse effects and undertake appropriate remedial action;
  • the SEA obliges Member States to ensure that environmental reports are of a sufficient quality.