Find out more about the advice and support we may be able to provide during the assessment.
There is no requirement to involve the Environment Agency during the assessment stage of the SEA. The results of this stage will be presented in the Environmental Report, which must be formally consulted upon. Plan-makers may undertake voluntary consultation/participation activities with organisations at this stage to enhance their assessment process.
Where a plan-maker seeks to involve us at this stage we may be prepared to provide technical advice on a case-by-case basis. This will generally be limited to our priority plans.
Predicting and evaluating the effects of the plan
The Directive requires the SEA to identify, describe and evaluate the effects of the plan and reasonable alternatives on the environment, where significant negative effects are identifed mitigatation measures should also be developed.
Predicting the effects of the plan or programme on the environment involves:
- Identifying changes to the environmental baseline that are predicted to arise from the plan, programme and/or proposed alternatives.
- Describing these changes in terms of their magnitude, geographical scale, time period; permanent/temporary, positive/negative, probable/improbable, frequent/rare, direct/indirect, secondary, cumulative, synergistic.
Evaluating the predicted effects of the plan or programme on the environment involves:
- Determining the significance of predicted changes (beneficial or adverse) to the environmental baseline
- Identifying preferred environmental alternatives
Mitigating negative effects identified in the assessment should be based on the Mitigation Hierarchy:
- Avoid the effect, e.g. by removing the policy / site from the plan.
- Reduce the effect, e.g. by including additional policy / contingency measures.
- Offset the effect, e.g. by providing some form of compensation (new habitat)
The environmental report must include a discussion of the assessment of the plan and reasonable alternative approaches as well a description of any mitigation measures identified.