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Strategic Environmental Assessment

Mertoun parkland
EU legislation requiring the environmental assessment of plans and programmes came into being in 2001 through Directive 2001/42/EC

In Scotland, the requirements of the Directive are taken forward by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. The Act requires that environmental assessment is undertaken on all public sector plans, programmes and strategies which are likely to have significant environmental effects.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) provides a systematic process for identifying, predicting, reporting, mitigating and monitoring the environmental effects of plans, programmes and strategies.

The Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review

Published in 2011, some ten years on from the coming into force of the SEA directive, and nearly six since the passing of Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act, this review is the first full consideration of the efficiency and effectiveness of SEA process and practice in Scotland.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency led and authored this review, in association with Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland and with the support of Scottish Government.  It was also informed by a project steering group of wider partners and stakeholders.  The report summarises the main conclusions and sets out recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of SEA process and practice in Scotland.  The report can be viewed below and its appendices can be seen at the Scottish Government website.

PDF icon Scottish SEA Review – Executive Summary [pdf, 1.3mb]
PDF icon Scottish SEA Review – Main Report [pdf, 3.4mb]

Guidance

The Scottish Government has published a basic introduction to Strategic Environmental Assessment which outlines some advice on basic SEA procedures.  More detailed guidance intended for SEA practitioners can be found in the following publications:

The SEA Toolkit
Planning Advice Note 1/2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment of Development Plans
Consideration of Climatic Factors within Strategic Environmental Assessment
Guidance produced by SNIFFER on how to take Air, Soil and Water into account within an SEA

UK-wide guidance on SEA is available from A Practical Guide to the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive .

Strategic Environmental Assessment Database

The SEA Database offers a means to examine all SEA activity that has taken place in Scotland since July 2004. The Database holds all formal submissions, including pre-screening, screening, scoping, environmental report and post adoption statements from Responsible Authorities. It also holds the Consultation Authorities (Historic Scotland, SEPA & SNH) responses to these formal submissions.

Historic Scotland's Role

Historic Scotland has two roles under the Act:
  • as a Consultation Authority
The Scottish Ministers have designated Historic Scotland to act on their behalf on matters affecting the historic environment.  Our duties are set out in the Act, involving the following tasks:

- responding to screening reports (specified 28 day time frame);
- responding to requests for assistance in scoping Environmental Reports (specified 35 day time frame);
- review of Environmental Reports (timeframe agreed during scoping); and
- responding to adoption notices, where required.

  • as a Responsible Authority
The term ‘Responsible Authority’ is used in the Act to describe the organisation responsible for preparing the plan, programme or strategy.  Historic Scotland prepares plans, programmes and strategies and will undertake SEA of those that are likely to have significant environmental effects.


Administrative arrangements

The Act requires Responsible Authorities to submit consultation documents to the Consultation Authorities at various stages of the SEA process, including screening, scoping, and Environmental Reports and post-adoption statements.

The Scottish Government has established the SEA Gateway to manage the administration of SEA consultations. Responsible Authorities should submit all formal SEA consultation documents to the Scottish Government SEA Gateway who will issue the documents to the Consultation Authorities and coordinate the return of responses from the Consultation Authorities within the appropriate timeframe.
Further details about the roles and responsibilities of the SEA Gateway are found in the SEA Tool Kit

Contact details for the SEA Gateway are provided below:

SEA Gateway
Scottish Government
Area 1-H (Bridge)
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

Email:SEA.Gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Website:  Scottish Government – Strategic Environmental Assessment Website
Telephone:0131 244 5094

Historic Scotland contact details

Alasdair McKenzie
SEA Team Leader
0131 668 8924
alasdair.mckenzie@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Andrew Stevenson
Senior Development Assessment Officer
0131 668 8960
andrew.stevenson2@Scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Rosalind Campbell
Senior Development Assessment Officer
0131 668 8575
rosalind.campbell@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Virginia Sharp
Senior Development Assessment Officer
0131 668 8704
virginia.sharp@scotland.gsi.gov.uk


Contact us

SEA Secretariat
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Edinburgh
EH9 1SH
Tel: +44(0) 131 668 8898