Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) / Sustainability Appraisal (SA)

The SEA Directive applies to a wide range of public plans and programmes (e.g. on land use, transport, energy, waste, agriculture, etc). The SEA Directive does not refer to policies. Plans and programmes in the sense of the SEA Directive must be prepared or adopted by an authority (at national, regional or local level) and be required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions.

An SEA is mandatory for plans/programmes which are: prepared for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste/ water management, telecommunications, tourism, town & country planning or land use and which set the framework for future development consent of projects listed in the EIA Directive or have been determined to require an assessment under the Habitats Directive.


Sustainability Appraisal (SA)

SA is a process that tests the potential social, economic and environmental effects of plans including the Minerals and Waste Development Plans. It is a statutory requirement under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It requires all emerging documents within the Minerals and Waste Development Framework (MWDF) to be subjected to 'testing' to determine their sustainability credentials - the idea being to help develop the most sustainable policies and proposals. The SA process aims to ensure that the social, environmental and economic implications of plans are fully considered, and that the most sustainable policies are developed. The process incorporates the requirement of the SEA Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. This came into force in July of 2004 and applies to a range of English plans and programmes.

Government guidance on SA recommends a five-stage approach. Stage A involves establishing the evidence base and developing an 'SA Framework' that will inform the appraisal process. For Minerals and Waste the original Context Report and Scoping Report, making up this framework were subject to consultation for 5 weeks (from 25th August to 29th September 2005). Since then there have been a number of changes and updates to these reports. The details and the reports themselves can be viewed on the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Framework page. Also see the individual SA Reports that have been produced e.g. for Gloucestershire's Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Waste Minimisation in Development Projects, the Minerals Core Strategy and the Waste Core Strategy.


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