Scotland's approach to SEA
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 takes Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) beyond the requirements of the original Directive and extends the legislation to cover all qualifying public plans, programmes and strategies. A decision that has not been replicated within the rest of the UK but one that has caught the attention of other Countries, including some outwith Europe.
The 2005 Act has brought with it a greater level of protection to Scotland's unique and irreplaceable environment. It achieves this by ensuring that every qualifying public plan, programme and strategy is considered for its likely environmental effects and where likely to be significant, opportunities to avoid adverse impacts sought and positive ones enhanced. The Environmental Assessment information is then set out within a public consultation, to ensure those with an interest or likely to be affected by the plan or programme are provided an opportunity to have their views taken into account.
As part of the commitment to go beyond the requirements of the Directive the Scottish Government also created the SEA Gateway (firstname.lastname@example.org), whose purpose is to manage the formal correspondence between the Responsible Authority and the Consultation Authorities (SEPA, SNH and HES) ensuring responses are received on time and the information recorded and publically available on the SEA Database. As well as managing the SEA Database, the Gateway also is responsible for looking after the Scottish Ministers interests in SEA, the production of SEA Guidance and resolving potential areas for conflict.