Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment
Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are processes used to ensure that the principles of sustainable development are considered in the preparation of planning policy documents. SA and SEA are iterative processes which should be undertaken in parallel with the preparation of any planning documents, and should be used to inform decisions on options, and the content of the planning documents themselves.
SA is required in the UK by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. SEA is required in the EU by an EU Directive (2001/42/EC), commonly referred to as the “SEA Directive”, on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. Plans and programmes with the potential to have significant environmental effects (positive or negative) are required to undergo SEA.
Although SA and SEA are required by separate legislation, as there are many cross-overs between the two processes, government guidance recommends that the two processes be undertaken simultaneously. Where SA is referred to it therefore incorporates the requirements of SEA.
There are various stages in the SA process, but the main outputs for each SA are the SA Scoping Report, which is consulted upon at the start of the plan preparation process, and the SA Report, which is consulted upon along with the draft of the relevant planning document, and is subsequently amended to accompany the final version of the planning document to which it applies.
The SA documents produced so far by the Council which remain relevant are listed below, along with an indication of their status. The LDF and Core Strategy SA Scoping Report is an overarching SA Scoping Report which applies to the whole Local Plan. Any SA Scoping Reports produced for other documents should be read in conjunction with the LDF and Core Strategy SA Scoping Report.
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Updated: 13 November 2012