Local Housing Strategy: guidance 2019

Guidance to support a local authority to prepare a Local Housing Strategy (LHS).

4. Strategic Environmental Assessment

4.1 The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 places a statutory obligation of considering and if necessary undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of all public plans, programmes and strategies. It is for each “responsible authority” to make a judgement on whether a plan, programme or strategy is likely to have any significant environmental effects, either positive or negative and therefore requires a SEA.

4.2 Given the LHS relationship with the LDP, it is the informal view of the SEA Gateway, that generally only a pre-screening notification would be required for a LHS. This is based on the assumption that all decisions and options surrounding housing would be assessed and consulted upon through the LDP process and so can avoid potential assessment duplication. Advice on pre-screening can be found in the Scottish Government’s SEA Guidance.

4.3 The judgement of whether an SEA is required or not, is always for the responsible authority to make, however, the three statutory consultation authorities (Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Environment Protection Agency) play a key role in SEA by bringing their individual environmental expertise to the assessment process. Consultation authorities do not provide a comment on pre-screening notifications; however, they can raise a concern to Scottish Ministers if they believe a plan, programme or strategy does not qualify to be pre-screened. We would encourage local authorities, if in doubt, to seek independent legal advice or contact the SEA Gateway for general guidance.


Email: lisa.bullen@gov.scot

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