Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the process by which environmental considerations are required to be fully integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes prior to their final adoption. The objectives of SEA are to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to promote sustainable development.

 

EPA's Role as an SEA Environmental Authority

We are one of the five environmental authorities specified in the SEA Regulations. We are required to be consulted in all cases at the SEA screening, scoping and environmental report/draft plan stages. Our role as an SEA environmental authority focuses on promoting full integration of the findings of the SEA into the plan and advocating that the key environmental challenges for Ireland are addressed. The EPA's functions as an SEA environmental authority do not include approving or enforcing SEAs or plans.

As a priority, we focus our efforts on reviewing and commenting on key sector plans.

For land use plans at county and local level, we provide a ‘self-service approach’ via our guidance document ‘SEA of Land Use Plans – EPA Recommendations and Resources’. This document is updated regularly.

Where we provide specific comments on plans and programmes, our comments will focus on the EPA's remit and areas of expertise (in particular water, air, climate change, waste, resource efficiency, noise, radon and the inter-relationships between these and other relevant topics e.g. biodiversity), as appropriate and relevant to the particular plan or programme.