Why do I need to read this guide?

In order for a neighbourhood plan to meet the basic conditions at examination it must be compatible with EU obligations. One of these obligations relates to the effect a plan may have on the environment.

This toolkit describes what a strategic environmental assessment, (SEA) is, when one is required and the process of screening a neighbourhood plan to determine whether SEA is necessary. It also outlines which statutory consultees are involved in the SEA process.

What will I learn from this guide?

  • What is a strategic environmental assessment (SEA)
  • How to screen a neighbourhood plan to determine whether SEA is necessary
  • Who are the statutory consultees for SEA

This toolkit updates the previous SEA screening toolkit produced in 2016 to:

  • reflect changes in national planning policy and guidance, including the updated National Planning Policy Framework¬† (NPPF) and Planning Practice Guidance¬† (PPG);
  • additional information on when and by whom screening should be undertaken; and
  • additional guidance on determining when effects may be significant.

When should I read this guide?

You need to read this guide at the early stage of plan development, when you start to have an idea as to what your plan may address.

Further reading

You can find out about each stage of producing your neighbourhood plan by reading the Neighbourhood Planning Roadmap.

The SEA Regulations (Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations, 2004) and the Habitats Regulations (Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017) previously implemented the requirements of the SEA and Habitats Directives in England. These Regulations will continue to apply unless new legislation is introduced to withdraw or amend them.

Understand if your plan requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (1.4MB pdf)