Strategic Environmental Assessment
The Strategic Environmental Assessment Joint Screening Statement has been produced to consider whether a number of forthcoming Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs), which are to be produced across the South Worcestershire authorities are likely to have significant environmental effects, and hence whether Strategic Environmental Assessment is required to be carried out.
The Screening against the SEA criteria has been carried out jointly for the first set of SPDs that are to be produced, to implement policies within the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) in the main.
Strategic Environment Assessment is a requirement of the European Union Directive 2001/42/EC (Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive).
The Councils, each as a Responsible Authority under the Directive and the associated Regulations, must carry out a screening process to determine whether plans or programmes are likely to have significant environmental effects, and hence whether SEA is required under the Directive.
Where the Council determines that SEA is not required, Regulation 9(3) states that they must prepare a statement setting out the reasons for this determination.
Sustainability Appraisal is a separate requirement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Sustainability Appraisal considers the social, environmental and economic impacts of a plan.
The Act and the associated Regulations set out the requirement to carry out Sustainability Appraisal on all Development Plan Documents.
Development Plan Documents are planning policy documents which set policies for the use of land or allocate sites for development (e.g. the South Worcestershire Development Plan).
Following the 2008 Planning Act, Sustainability Appraisal is no longer required to be carried out for Supplementary Planning Documents, as they purely provide further detail on policies in an adopted development plan.
They must therefore be consistent with adopted Development Plan Documents which will themselves have been the subject of Sustainability Appraisal.
Despite this amendment in planning legislation, there is still a requirement to assess the need for a full Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).