Consideration of climatic factors within Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Guidance on the consideration of climatic factors within Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), developed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).


7.1 The 2005 Act includes "climatic factors" within a wide spectrum of environmental issues that have to be considered when undertaking an SEA. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing Scotland for future climate changes should therefore be considered within an SEA.

7.2 In terms of the measures to prevent any significant environmental effects, under the terms of the 2005 Act, public PPS can help to address climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, or at least not increasing them. This has become a consistent challenge for the Scottish public sector, along with ensuring that PPS are also resilient to the effects of climate change, now and in the future.

7.3 At each key reporting stage of the SEA process it is important to consider how climatic factors are likely to be affected by the PPS being prepared and the variety of ways to prevent, reduce or if necessary offset as far as possible, the adverse effects, while enhancing the favourable effects. The key reporting stages within SEA and potential climate change actions are outlined below.





  • Determine whether the PPS is likely to significantly increase or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either directly or indirectly.
  • Identify whether the PPS is likely to significantly affect the ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, in the area, in the future.
  • To gauge the magnitude of the likely effects, it is important to examine the influence of the PPS on other plans.
  • Allows you to judge whether the SEA process and procedures are statutorily required.


  • Consider whether the PPS, including any adaptation measures, is likely to have a significant effect on climatic factors and set out an assessment method that ensures climate impacts are assessed in an appropriate way.
  • Demonstrates how you propose to align the assessment with the areas of the PPS that are likely to have significant environmental effects and how the environmental report will be set out.

Environmental Report

  • Summarise the significant effects of the PPS on climatic factors.
  • Identify any mitigation measures to prevent, reduce or offset those parts of the PPS that may lead to adverse effects.
  • The public have to be consulted on the elements of the PPS that are likely to have significant environmental effects, including climatic factors.
  • The environmental report provides the public with a means to gauge what the likely effects of their preferred choice will be along with any reasonable alternatives.

Adoption and Monitoring

  • Take impacts on climatic factors into account when finalising the PPS.
  • Align monitoring with the potential climate impacts of the PPS.
  • A means to ensure that the environment is taken into account when taking key decision and where effects are uncertain, monitoring is ready to identify any unforeseen effects and ensure appropriate remedial action is considered.
Back to top