A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. It is a process for the early identification and assessment of the likely significant environmental effects, both positive and negative, of certain plans programmes and strategies developed by the public sector. The purpose of this web page is to provide transparency of decision making in the SEA process within Highland Council. More detailed information on SEA's can be found on the Scottish Government Website.
Which Plans Programmes and Strategies are affected?
Each public sector organisation is responsible for determining which of its plans, programmes or strategies (PPS) require SEA. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 identifies certain categories of PPS that definitely require assessment (eg those with an explicit land-use and / or environmental content). It also lists exemptions, which include financial or budget plans and programmes, and plans for national defence or civil emergency.
Pre-screening & screening
Screening, or pre-screening, is the process of determining – and evidencing - whether or not a PPS is likely to have a significant environmental impact, which in turn identifies whether an SEA is required. Each Highland Council Service is responsible for deciding which of its PPS should be screened / pre-screened:
Pre-screening is a Service’s “in-house” assessment of the likely environmental impact of a PPS. The assessment is documented in a short form and retained by Highland Council Services.
Screening is a formal exercise undertaken through the Scottish Executive’s SEA Gateway. This provides opinion from three official SEA Consultation Authorities (SEPA, SNH and Historic Scotland) as to whether a PPS is likely to have a significant environmental impact and require to undergo an SEA. Evidence of Highland Councils screening decisions by service based on feedback from the SEA gateway.
When it is determined that a PPS requires an SEA, a scoping report must be prepared. The scoping report outlines the level of detail to consider in the environmental report as well as the duration of the consultation. This is to enable the consultation authorities to express an early and effective opinion on the proposed contents of the environmental report.
The Environmental Report is the main reporting mechanism for describing and evaluating the significant effects, both positive and negative, on the environment of implementing the PPS. The effects of alternatives to the PPS are also outlined and evaluated in the report, as well as actions to prevent, reduce and, as fully as possible, offset any significant adverse effects. The Environmental Report is thus the key consultation document and is prepared for publication alongside the draft PPS. Feedback from the statutory consultation bodies during the scoping stage is incorporated into the environmental report. To access Highland Council Environmental Reports and provide feedback to any currently out for consultation please follow the links provided.
Post Adoption Statement
Before a qualifying plan, programme or strategy ( PPS) can be formally adopted, it is a requirement of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 that the Environmental Report, and the outcome of consultations upon it, are taken into account. The Act also requires that once the PPS is adopted, a statement is published which explains how the Responsible Authority has taken the SEA process into account and how environmental considerations have been integrated into the PPS.
SEA Gateway and Helpdesk: Enquiries, including queries relating to Screening and Scoping procedures should be directed to the Scottish Executive’s SEA Team at:
E-mail: SEA Gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0131 244 5094 (helpdesk)
Fax: 0131 244 0195
For more information on Highland Council SEA submissions and to submit feedback on any environmental report consultations please contact the Sustainable Development Officer:
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01463 702 543