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).


9.1 At scoping, it is useful to begin to define the wider framework of the environmental objectives that form the context for the PPS and assessment, as this is a requirement for the subsequent environmental report, (under Schedule 3(5) of the 2005 Act). In Scotland there are several key legislative and policy drivers (Figure 7) which provide the framework for meeting the challenging target set in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. These are of crucial importance when considering climate change in SEA. Appendix 2 provides a fuller list of relevant legislation and policy.

9.2 In addition, the scoping stage can usefully begin to explore the baseline information which will be used in the assessment and set out in the environmental report (as required by Schedule 3 (2)(3) and (4) of the 2005 Act). In the interests of proportionality, it is important to tailor the approach for baseline information collection to the scope of the PPS. A comprehensive description of global climate change is unlikely to be of direct relevance to the assessment of many local level plans, but specific information about emissions from a defined sector may provide an insight into the key aspects of climate change that the PPS is likely to influence.

9.3 The baseline information sources listed in Figure 8 could be useful at scoping and in the subsequent assessment stage. A longer list of climate change information, which could also be referred to where relevant, is set out in Appendix 3 .

Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009

Scottish Government Adaptation Framework

Climate Change Delivery Plan

Scottish Government Renewables Action Plan

Energy Efficiency Action Plan

Renewable Heat Plan

Scotland's Climate Change Declaration

Figure 7 - Key Scottish Legislation & Policy

Baseline Information Source

UK Climate Impacts Programme ( UKCIP)

UKCIP helps organisations to adapt to inevitable climate change. It works with the public, private and voluntary sector to assess how a changing climate will affect everything from construction and demand for goods and services, to biodiversity and health. A major product produced by UKCIP is the UK Climate Projections 2009. This represents the most comprehensive package of future climate information available for the UK to date. It provides probabilistic projections of climate change up to 2099 over both land and sea and contains sub-surface marine data. Further information on UKCIP and the UK Climate Projections 2009 can be found at

Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership ( SCCIP)

SCCIP was established to "increase the resilience of organisations and infrastructure in Scotland to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the impacts of climate change".

On this site you will find:

  • data on climate trends and impacts in Scotland
  • the latest research and project information including sharing best practice
  • tools and resources to support action in adapting to and mitigating climate change
  • information on training and support events

Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research ( SNIFFER) Handbook of Climate Trends across Scotland.

The handbook highlights experienced climate trends in Scotland since 1961 in an accessible form. It has been designed for use by a broad range of stakeholders to help inform preparation for and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The handbook presents up to date information on climate trends over the last century in Scotland and provides a benchmark against which we can measure future climate change.

Scottish Government Scottish Environmental Statistics online

This website provides a range of climate change statistics, including greenhouse gas emissions by Sector

Figure 8 - Useful sources of baseline information

9.4 Although some PPS are unlikely to have a significant effect on climatic factors and could potentially 'scope out' this issue, some Responsible Authorities may wish to 'scope in' climatic factors where resources permit. Whilst the contribution to climatic factors of the individual PPS may be relatively small in scale when viewed from a global perspective, it can nevertheless contribute to important and challenging Scottish targets. Each contribution, however small, moves Scotland closer to achieving its greenhouse gas reduction goal and could therefore be viewed as significant. Including climatic factors in the assessment can enable comprehensive consideration of the issues and challenges across the public sector and in the future provide information that can be used to measure the overall reduction. It can also ensure that other measures, which are not directly linked to reducing emissions, such as adaptation driven actions, are explored.

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