Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires public bodies in Scotland to carry out Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on their plans, programmes and strategies. SEA is a way of examining plans and strategies as they develop, to identify any significant effects they may have on the environment. It ensures that environmental considerations are taken into account. SEA also aims to build in mitigation measures, to avoid or minimise any potentially significant adverse effects on the environment, and look for opportunities to enhance a strategy's environmental performance.
SEA has a number of distinct stages. The initial stage was screening, where the Scottish Government, having sought the opinions of the SEA Consultation Authorities (SNH, SEPA and Historic Scotland) made a screening determination that a SEA of the Land Use Strategy was required.
The next step in the SEA process was scoping, whereby early consideration is given to key issues that should be addressed within the assessment and that should be considered in the development of the Strategy. Scoping provides the SEA Consultation Authorities and potentially other interested stakeholders with sufficient information to allow them to reach a view on the proposed scope and level of detail for the environmental assessment. The Land Use Strategy SEA Scoping Report was available for comment between the 4th March and 7th April 2010.
Comments received on the Scoping Report informed the subsequent environmental assessment.
The environmental assessment progressed alongside the development of the draft Strategy over Summer 2010. As the content of the draft Strategy emerged, it was subjected to high-level environmental assessment, involving policy analysis and an assessment of potential environmental effects. The findings are set out in the Environmental Report which is supported by a Scenario's Assessment and a Non-Technical Summary. The report was consulted on alongside the draft Land Use Strategy in Autumn-Winter 2010.
An Analysis Report has been prepared which represents the full range of views received on the Environmental Report through the consultation. This report has been used in the finalisation of the Land Use Strategy.
Following the publication of the Land Use Strategy a post-adoption Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement has been prepared. It explains how the SEA helped influence the drafting of the final Strategy. The statement outlines how the findings of the environmental assessment and respondents' comments on the Environmental Report were taken into account. It also outlines a monitoring framework which will help to monitor the significant environmental effects of the Strategy.