Local air quality management: policy guidance

Updated guidance for local authorities to take account of Environmental Standards Scotland's recommendations to strengthen the local air quality management regime.

8: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

8.1 When developing an action plan or air quality strategy, local authorities have to consider whether it they fall within the scope of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and therefore whether a SEA is required. An important means to gauge if an SEA of an action plan or air quality strategy will be required, is to consider the likely environmental effects of implementing the plan or strategy and whether they are likely to be significant. Further guidance is available on the Scottish Government's website Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) - Environmental assessment - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

8.2 As a simple guide, local authorities could take the following into consideration:

  • Will the plan or strategy include conditions which will influence a development plan or other consent framework in ways which are likely to have significant effects (for example, will the action plan or air quality strategy require or preclude certain projects at certain locations)? If so, an SEA may be required; or
  • Does the plan or strategy only set out specific air quality measures such as traffic management schemes, parking controls and so, and there is no intention of including conditions to influence planning or development consents? If so, it is unlikely to require an SEA.

8.3 It is important to remember that in each scenario, if the local authority judges that the environmental effects of implementing the action plan or air quality strategy are likely to be greater than minimum, a screening request has to be submitted to the Consultation Authorities (Scottish Natural Heritage (now NatureScot), SEPA and Historic Scotland) identified in the 2005 Act. This can be done via the SEA Gateway (details provided above). It is also important to note that the SEA process must be carried out during an action plan or air quality strategy's preparation, beginning at an early stage prior to any public consultation, and the findings taken into account when the plan or strategy is being finalised.


Email: Andrew.Taylor2@gov.scot

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