What is Sustainability Appraisal?
Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is a statutory requirement. The purpose of SA is to ensure that certain policies, plans and proposals contribute to sustainable development. This allows the Council to assess and mitigate the potential environmental, economic and social implications that the Council’s policies and plans could have. It also aids the preparation of plans that promote sustainable forms of development.
What is Strategic Environmental Assessment?
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a legal requirement to comply with an EU Directive (2001/42/EC). The SEA Directive is transposed into Welsh law by The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Wales) Regulations 2004 (the SEA Regs). It is a process which aims to assess the effect that a plan or programme is likely to have on the environment before it is implemented. The objective of SEA is “to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development” . Guidance for SA and SEA has been set out in the LDP Manual published by the Welsh Government, which refers to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) SEA guidance.
The SEA Regulations require certain proposed plans and programmes that may have an impact on the environment to assess their likely effect. This is done through the production of an Environmental Report and subsequent consultation with Cadw, and Natural Resources Wales (the Consultation Bodies for Wales).
When does SEA apply?
There is no definitive list of plans and programmes which will be covered by the SEA Regulations, each case is considered on an individual basis. The responsibility for deciding if the plan or programme is covered by the regulations lies with the organisation that is preparing the plan or programme. The Practical Guide to the SEA Directive gives a suggested list of plans and programmes that will be caught and also specifies the criteria for applying the SEA Directive.
Applying SEA and SA in Pembrokeshire
The Pembrokeshire County Council Local Development Plan (LDP) is undergoing SA and SEA. The SEA aspect has been incorporated into the SA process as suggested by the Welsh Government. To find out more about the LDP SA/SEA please visit the planning web pages.
Further information about SA and SEA is available at:
A Practical Guide to the SEA Directive: Guidance from the former ODPM and devolved administrations: