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Strategic Environmental Assessment

Public sector organisations must consider the environmental effects of their plans, programmes and strategies.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic and effective way to ensure that environmental issues are central to public sector decision-making. SEA supports rigorous and transparent preparation of all public sector plans, programmes and strategies.

SEA considers environmental effects as part of the preparation and implementation of plans and strategies. It also enables the monitoring of significant effects, and the review of plans and strategies.

SEA helps the development planning process to consider environmental issues. It also provides a framework to efficiently and effectively target Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for specific projects.

The requirement for assessment was brought into practice in Scotland by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Find out more about Strategic Environmental Assessment on the Scottish Government website.

Our dual role in SEA

Scottish Natural Heritage is a ‘consultation authority’. This means that we provide specialist environmental advice and comment to other public sector organisations carrying out their own assessments.

It’s up to the ‘responsible authority’ – the public sector organisation tasked with producing the plan, programme or strategy – to conduct SEA. SNH is the responsible authority for its own plans, programmes and strategies.

Scotland’s other two consultation authorities for SEA are:

  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Historic Environment Scotland

How we can help responsible authorities

We can direct you to:

This guidance sets out how we act in our role as a consultation authority:

Local Development Plan site assessment and SEA

Our Local Development Plan: Site Assessment and SEA Checklist can help organisations to integrate the two processes.

The three consultation authorities have been looking at whether there’s a way to streamline Local Development Plan site assessment and SEA processes. The checklist offers suggestions only and you need not stick rigidly to it.

Find out more

Scottish Natural Heritage Policy Summary: Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review

The Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review: A Summary

Strategic Environmental Assessment 01376 Screening for our Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund - NOTICE OF DETERMINATION