C7.1 Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)


Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a process to ensure that the significant environmental effects arising from policies, plans and programmes are identified, assessed, mitigated. They must also be communicated to decision-makers, monitored and opportunities for public involvement should be provided.

SEA is a generic tool that can be applied in a variety of situations. It is an important instrument to help to achieve sustainable development in public planning and policy making.

There is a European Directive covering SEA. The objective of this Directive is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that, in an environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The Directive defines “environmental assessment” as a procedure that involves the preparation of an Environmental Report on the likely significant effects of the draft plan or programme; and consultation on this. The results of the consultation are then considered in the decision making process.