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SEA in Scotland

Scotland's approach to SEAScottish Parliament

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 (sea.gateway@scot.gov), 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. 

SEA Review

The SEA Review was undertaken in 2011 and was the first full consideration of the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and practices within Scotland. As the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 came into force 5 years earlier in 2006, this was viewed by many as the ideal opportunity to establish how SEA was bedding in and whether the Scottish Government or the Consultation Authorities could, at this stage, offer further support or clarity to the assessment process.  SEA Review front cover

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) led and authored the review, in association with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Historic Scotland (now known as Historic Environment Scotland) and with the support of Scottish Government. It was also informed by a project steering group of wider partners and stakeholders.

The report summarises the main conclusions and sets out recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of SEA process and practice in Scotland.

Annual Reports 2006 -2011

The annual reports were produced by the SEA Gateway Team between 2006 and 2011 and reflected a 5 year commitment in the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, to provide the Scottish Ministers with a record of all SEA activity in Scotland over the calendar year.  This was an important commitment as it allowed Scottish Ministers to view how SEA was bedding into public plan and programme preparation.

After the five year commitment to produce the SEA Annual Report had expired, the Gateway Team surveyed SEA Forum members to establish whether there was a desire for the the production of the annual report to continue, beyond the commitment specified in the 2005 Act.  Based on that survey findings, the SEA Gateway took the decision to discontinue the publication due to lack of interest.  Copies of the annual reports produced from 2006 to 2011 are available below. 

Yellowcraig Beach

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2011

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2010

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2009

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2008

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2007

Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment activity within Scotland in 2006