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Strategic Environmental Assessment Report

Offshore Wind SEA coverStrategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) are a key component of sustainable development in Scotland. An SEA ensures that the environment is considered throughout policy preparation, thereby reducing any negative or unforeseen policy impacts and improving the transparency of decision making.

A SEA is therefore a key component of sustainable development, focused on protecting the environment. It also extends opportunities for participation in public policy decision-making and increases transparency.

There are a number of distinct stages in the SEA process:

  • Screening
  • Scoping
  • Consultation
  • Post-Adoption
  • Monitoring

In Brief

In May 2010, Marine Scotland completed an SEA to find the most appropriate locations for placing wind energy devices in the sea, around the entire Scottish coast and an initial report of these findings has now been published and is available for comment.

Q: What is this report?

A: The report sets out the findings from the strategic environmental assessment of the Draft Plan. It describes the environmental effects of options for development from a national perspective, and invites consultees to comment on these proposals in the light of that environmental information.

Q: Why is it needed?

A: The report is needed to ensure that the Plan complies with the provisions of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. It ensures the Plan anticipates, and avoids as far as possible, the range of environmental effects that could arise from offshore wind energy development in Scottish Territorial Waters.

Q: Why is the report being published now?

A: The SEA legislation requires us to publish the relevant environmental information for public consultation, before a decision is made on the finalised Plan. The consultation is therefore being undertaken alongside discussion of the draft Plan

Q: How was the assessment undertaken?

The SEA was undertaken by external contractors on behalf of Marine Scotland. It forms an integral part of the process of preparing the plan itself, and the contractors worked closely with Marine Scotland to achieve this.