1 Overview

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic way to identify, predict, report, mitigate and monitor the environmental effects of public sector plans, programmes and strategies.

This is a requirement of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. The Act took forward in Scotland the aims of EC Directive 2001/42/EC, which came into being in the UK in 2001.

SEA is a vital tool that:

  • puts the environment at the heart of public sector activity
  • is seen as a key component of sustainable development
  • reflects the views and expertise of consultation authorities, the general public and key stakeholders

Under the Act, a ‘responsible authority’ describes the public sector organisation responsible for preparing the plan, programme or strategy to be assessed.  

A ‘consultation authority’ is one that advises responsible authorities on environmental matters in a particular area of expertise.

There are three consultation authorities:

A public statement on how opinions have been taken into account is produced at the end of the SEA process.

Find out about our roles in Strategic Environmental Assessment.

2 SEA Gateway and other contacts

SEA Gateway was set up by the Scottish Government to manage the administration of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) consultations.

Responsible authorities should submit all formal consultation documents to SEA Gateway during the SEA process. These documents include pre-screening, screening, scoping and environmental reports and post-adoption statements.

SEA Gateway will then:

  • issue the documents to the consultation authorities
  • coordinate the timely return of responses from the consultation authorities

SEA Gateway contact

SEA Gateway
Scottish Government
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

Telephone: 0131 244 7650
Email: sea.gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Website: Scottish Government – Strategic Environmental Assessment website

Historic Environment Scotland contacts

Alasdair McKenzie
Heritage Team Leader (SEA)
Telephone: 0131 668 8924 

Email:
alasdair.mckenzie@hes.scot


Andrew Stevenson
Senior Development Assessment Officer (SEA)
Telephone: 0131 668 8960
Email:
andrew.stevenson2@hes.scot


Virginia Sharp
Senior Development Assessment Officer (SEA)
Telephone: 0131 668 8704
Email:
virginia.sharp@hes.scot

3 SEA Database

The SEA Database lets you explore all Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) activity in Scotland since July 2004.

The database holds all formal SEA submissions.

This includes the pre-screening, screening, scoping and environmental reports and post-adoption statements from responsible authorities.

It also holds the responses to these submissions given by the consultation authorities – Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage.

4 The Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review

This review looked for the first time at the efficiency and effectiveness of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process and practice in Scotland.

Its report was published in 2011, by which time:

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency led and authored the review, in association with Scottish Natural Heritage and the then Historic Scotland, and with the support of the Scottish Government.

It was also informed by a project steering group of wider partners and stakeholders.

The Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review report:

  • summarises the main conclusions of the review
  • sets out recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of SEA process and practice in Scotland

Download the Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review – A Summary [PDF, 1.3MB]

Download the Scottish Strategic Environmental Assessment Review – Main Report [PDF, 3.4MB]

5 SEA and Local Development Plans

Streamlining the Local Development Plan site assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) processes makes sense.

The SEA joint site assessment pro forma has been developed for this purpose. It provides a suggested checklist that aims to combine the two processes.

Links to sources of information and guidance to help focus the assessment process are also included.  

The consultation authorities developed the pro forma, with input from a number of planning authorities.

You aren’t expected to stick rigidly to the checklist – it’s a suggestion only – but it may be helpful.

We welcome your comments on this work in progress and any suggestions for its improvement. 

Download the SEA joint site assessment pro forma [Word, 244KB]

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