Policy actions  3 of 3

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

In Scotland, public bodies and private companies operating in a public character, such as utility companies, are required to assess, consult on, and monitor the likely impacts their plans, programmes and strategies will have on the environment. This process is known as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

SEA helps to better protect the environment, aims to ensure that any development is sustainable, and increases opportunities for public participation in decision-making. It ensures that expert views are sought at various points in the preparation process from the public and the consultation authorities, who are as follows:

View contact details for the SEA consultation authorities.

SEA Gateway and database

The SEA Gateway was established to manage the statutory correspondence between the authorities responsible for preparing a plan, programme or strategy [known as the Responsible Authority] and the Consultation Authorities (SEPA, NatureScot and HES) as required by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.  The information received is then recorded and made publicly available on the SEA Database.

As well as providing the SEA Database, the Gateway also looks after Scottish Ministers' interests in SEA, produces SEA guidance, and resolves potential areas of conflict between the Responsible Authority and the Consultation Authorities.

Any enquiries can emailed to the Gateway team at

Review of SEA within development planning

We appointed Land Use Consultants (LUC) to undertake a study of SEA within development planning. The study seeks to identify opportunities for delivering proportionality in terms of offering supporting environmental information, which was a recommendation for the review of the Scottish planning system.

In January 2017 we circulated an online survey to known stakeholders, to gather views on SEA within development planning from a wide range of experienced practitioners and decision makers within the planning sector.

Further updates will be published on this page in due course.

SEA guidance

We have published the following guidance for SEA:

Planning Advice Note 1/2010: Strategic environmental assessment of development plans aims to help those who are undertaking an SEA of a strategic or local development plan.

The SEA: integrating an ecosystems approach information note provides advice on how to integrate an ecosystems approach into an SEA.

The consultation authorities have published guidance on specific topics, as follows:

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