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21 st July 2014 UKELA Johanna Curran Senior Manager ENVIRON UK SEA: Avoiding the Pitfalls A Practitioners Perspective.

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Presentation on theme: "21 st July 2014 UKELA Johanna Curran Senior Manager ENVIRON UK SEA: Avoiding the Pitfalls A Practitioners Perspective."— Presentation transcript:

1 21 st July 2014 UKELA Johanna Curran Senior Manager ENVIRON UK SEA: Avoiding the Pitfalls A Practitioners Perspective

2 Introduction About Me SA and SEA Common Pitfalls Case Studies Avoiding the Pitfalls

3 About Me Assessment at all strategic levels of plan-making Advice at examination and response to challenges Regular review and verification work –West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy SA –East of England SA Plan Repair –Severn Tidal Power SEA –C-Scope Marine Spatial Plan SA –Bulgarian Wind Power SEA –Shama Bahia SEA, Abu Dhabi

4 SA/SEA Regulations SA of local plans required under section 19 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 The National Planning Policy Framework also requires SA of local plans Accepted practice to integrate requirements of SA and SEA into a single assessment process (Planning Practice Guidance updated 2014) SA must incorporate the requirements of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004

5 SA/SEA Areas of Weakness Size and complexity of the documents Presentation of the assessment Taking the results of the SA into account Assessing all reasonable alternatives Basing the assessment on available and up to date information Identifying and assessing cumulative effects

6 DCLG Effectiveness Study 2010 An independent research report on the efficiency and effectiveness of SA and SEA of spatial plans Plan-making and SA/SEA often viewed as parallel but separate processes. Can lead to duplication of effort Greater efficiency if more clear integration with the plan-making process particularly during the early stages

7 SA/SEA would also be more efficient if: Evidence gathering focused on spatial information to identify and appraise alternatives Appraisal focused on well thought out and clearly articulated alternatives Scope tailored to the options under consideration Issues not likely to be significant were excluded from the scope Appraisal detail proportionate to the level of detail in the plan Integrate other appraisal processes – eg EqIA and HIA where appropriate

8 Case Study: West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy SA Large urban extension areas subject to SA Smaller sites within the large extensions taken forward as chosen options in submission plan No SA undertaken of options within the large extension sites EiP halted so that SA could be undertaken of individual development parcels

9 Case Study: Cherwell District Council Local Plan Alternatives assessment undertaken at issues and options stage Detailed assessment of the preferred sites undertaken Decision made that the rejected sites should have been subject to the same level of assessment The findings of the rejected options had to be presented within the SA Report Alternatives were assessed in the SEA of the core strategy but the reasons for selecting them and their assessment was less detailed than the assessment of the preferred option for growth - Heard v. Broadland DC [2012] EWHC 344 (Admin) –

10 Case Study: East Devon District Council Local Plan Core strategy organised into areas and sites identified for each area Certain areas have large amount of public opposition Strategic identification of sites has not considered potential environmental issues sufficiently Key issues highlighted in earlier SA not addressed by council

11 Case Study: East of England Plan Repair First successful legal challenge to an English regional development plan (RSS) Not all reasonable alternatives had been assessed in the previous SA/SEA process Definition of reasonable alternatives Rigorous SA (incorporating SEA) and HRA Reports reviewed by the government’s Crown Barristers and were found to be legally robust

12 Avoiding Pitfalls Engage with the SEA/SA process from the outset Timetable the SEA/SA with the plan so the assessment stages are clear Define what is a reasonable alternative Regularly review the alternatives at each decision- making stage Clear concise and thorough presentation Use a legal review and involve a technical expert

13 Tricks of the Trade Whole plan assessment approach Site screening – efficient and focused approach to identify “show stoppers” Moving away from matrices Participatory approach to appraisal Package assessment Clear presentation to make the document accessible Clear audit trail

14 Challenge proof assessments The SA and SEA was not challenged at this stage and we would like to thank you for all the SA work you have undertaken on our behalf to take the Local Plan to this stage, including examination support work …The fact the SA has to date not been challenged suggests that the hard work ENVIRON has put into the SA, with the support of officers, has undoubtedly been worthwhile. Many thanks to the team for all the good work on the Sustainability Appraisal and your support throughout the Local Plan preparation. Adrian Colwell MIED Head of Service Cherwell & South Northants District Councils ” “

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