Planning Advice Note 1/2010: strategic environmental assessment of development plans

Provides advice on how the requirements of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 can be met within the development planning process.


Key point: All development plans are likely to require an SEA under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005

1.1 Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) has a key role to play in delivering sustainable economic growth. Strategic development plans ( SDPs), local development plans ( LDPs) and formal supplementary guidance fall within the scope of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 1 ('the 2005 Act') and are therefore likely to require a SEA.

1.2 SEA is an important and statutory step that must be built into the plan preparation process. It has a positive role to play within this, reflecting the aspirations for the new development planning system within Scotland. SEA can add value to development planning, by stimulating creative and lateral thinking, helping to challenge traditional views and facilitating fuller consideration of the environmental effects of policies and proposals.

1.3 Linking the principles of plan preparation and the requirements of the 2005 Act can be viewed as challenging, but the new process of development planning has been designed to accommodate the SEA process.

Key point: This advice is tailored to Scottish development plans. For further information on SEA more generally, including the SEA Tool Kit, visit

How to use this Planning Advice Note

1.4 This Planning Advice Note ( PAN) aims to help those who are undertaking a SEA of a strategic or local development plan. Expertise in SEA is growing quickly within some sectors, including planning. This advice draws on this experience to encourage innovation in the assessment of development plans. It outlines the principles of SEA within the planning context and provides key pointers. The advice is specifically aimed at development planners who are embarking on the preparation of new development plans, and who may already have some prior knowledge of the SEA process. For those who are undertaking SEA for the first time, a basic introduction to the principles and procedures for SEA is available on the Scottish Government's website:

1.5 More detailed guidance on SEA is provided in the Scottish Government's SEA Tool Kit.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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