3. KEY PRINCIPLES
3.1 The following key principles should underpin the SEA of development plans, and are considered in detail within this Planning Advice Note ( PAN):
- Key point: Better integrated SEAs can reduce resources required and increase their contribution to the plan making process. Integration ( Section 4): Meeting the requirements of the legislation should form the starting point for any SEA, and timing and delivering SEA outputs at appropriate stages in the process are key to achieving this. At the same time, SEA has to form an integral part of the development plan preparation process. It should not duplicate work undertaken to develop the plan, but should help to interpret and inform the assessment of plan options and proposals. There are opportunities for planning authorities to achieve efficiencies by exploiting the overlap between development plan preparation and SEA activities.
- Key point: SEAs of development plans must be in proportion to the plan they are assessing. Proportionality ( Section 5): SEAs should be streamlined and fit for purpose. To facilitate more meaningful stakeholder engagement, SEA reports should be clear and succinct. This can best be achieved by paying attention to the scope of the assessment from the outset, and by focusing on the significant environmental effects of the plan. The SEA should reflect the character and length of the plan which it is assessing. As development plans become more spatial, there will be greater opportunities for more geographically defined SEA analysis and assessment.
- Efficiency ( Section 6): Concerns about the resource implications of SEA were repeatedly raised by planning authorities during the preparation of this PAN. The recommendations set out here aim to significantly improve efficiency by reducing duplication and complexity within the SEA process. Assistance is available to minimise the need for additional resources and outsourcing of SEAs by planning authorities.
3.2 The following sections focus on each of these key principles in turn.
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