Summary: To successfully implement the SEA Directive requirements, plan-makers need to apply best practice techniques where possible. This should be part of an overall approach that makes it easy to comply with the SEA Directive and which also promotes sustainable development. This project aims to develop an SEA methodology that meets these goals.
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This Report has been prepared by ERM Environmental Resources Management Ireland Ltd and provides the findings of the research project entitled “Development of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) methodologies for plans and programmes in Ireland”, funded under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Research, Technological Development and Innovation Programme (Phase 2), 2000–2006 (Ref 2001-EEP/DS-2/5).
Section 1 presents the purpose of the study and the structure of the Synthesis Report.
Section 2 provides a brief background to Strategic Environmental Assessment, using the SEA Directive as the basis for the discussion of SEA principles.
It includes a brief discussion of the procedural and documentation requirements. The implications of the forthcoming transposition of the directive for those who will have to undertake and analyse SEA are discussed in this section. A summary is also provided on what works and what does not work in SEA, based upon the review of international literature on SEA experiences in a range of countries.
Section 3 presents the SEA process as a series of procedural “stages” within which tried-and-tested “tasks” will deliver the required outputs at each stage.
Sections 4 and 5 deal with two elements of SEA that will prove particularly challenging in Ireland: how to effectively include stakeholders at all stages of the SEA process and how to ensure that the SEA documentation is of “sufficient quality”. The use of an SEA Report Checklist is discussed.
Section 6 sets out the overall conclusions of the research project and provides pro-active recommendations to stimulate the development and uptake of SEA in Ireland.
Appendix A lists several potential sources of environmental data that may be consulted during the SEA process.
Appendix B presents the SEA Checklist, which may be used by SEA practitioners to monitor progress during the SEA process or to review draft SEA Reports.