C7.6.2 SEA and EIA


Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment


There are obvious links between SEA and EIA. Both are processes designed to identify environmental impacts and to take action to mitigate them. The key differences are in the subject matter the assessment is conducted on and who conducts the assessment.

To understand the link between EIA and SEA, it is useful to compare the two:

Aim Ensure environmental effects are identified and mitigated Ensure environmental effects are identified and mitigated
Legislated Directive and UK regulations Directive and UK regulations
Issue being considered Polices, plans and programmes A specific project
Process completed by Responsible Authority The developer (or someone on their behalf, e.g. consultant)
Screening Yes Yes
Scoping Yes Yes
Assessment of environmental effects Yes Yes
Mitigation Yes Yes
Report or Statement Yes – Report Yes – Statement
Consultation with relevant Authorities Yes Yes
Consultation with the public Yes Not specifically
Monitoring Yes Not specifically
Timescale (as a guide) 10 years 1 year
Geographical scope Very wide Local
Assessment of Impacts Predictive and uncertain Reasonably accurate
Cost Higher than EIA Less than SEA


If an EIA is required for a project, the EIA will still be required regardless of whether an SEA has been completed. However, the information contained within an SEA might be of use when completing an EIA.

EIA is discussed in further detail in Module C6.