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Sustainability Appraisal: Current and emerging issues

Thursday, 03 November 2016 at 9:30AM - 4:30PM
The Hatton (etc Venues), 51-53 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8HN
£399 for RTPI members (From £199 with a season ticket)
£199 for licentiate members and independent consultants; £140 for students, unemployed and retired; £499 standard price

In the twelve years since the European SEA Directive and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 respectively required strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and sustainability appraisal (SA), SEA/SA practice has advanced rapidly.  Recent legal challenges have highlighted the importance of considering reasonable alternatives in SEA/SA and documenting the choice of alternatives; a wide range of previous SEA/SAs, both good and bad, give us examples to draw from; Geographical Information Systems are increasingly being used in site specific plan appraisals; and links are increasingly being drawn between SEA/SA and Habitats Regulations Assessment.  Neighbourhood Plans may require proportionate SEA/SAs. 

That said, the recent LPEG report suggests many changes to the SEA/SA process, and Brexit may, in the longer run, lead to significant changes to (or indeed abolition of) the process.  Government cutbacks mean that SEA/SAs must be particularly efficient and provide true 'value added'. 

This masterclass proposes ways of carrying out effective, efficient SEA/SA taking into account these changes.  It focuses on how SEA/SA can make a real difference in plan-making, to make the plan ‘greener’ and more sustainable.  There is plenty of time for discussion, and the tutor is happy to have a brief surgery over lunch or after the course to deal with detailed queries.

A linked introductory masterclass on SEA/SA provides an introduction to legal requirements and the SEA/SA process.

Benefits of attending:

This masterclass will help you understand:

  1. What is good and bad in SEA/SA practice: how to promote the former and avoid the latter
  2. The conclusions and implications of recent SEA/SA-related legal challenges
  3. How to identify 'reasonable alternatives' in the light of the legal challenges and changes to the planning system
  4. Specific SEA/SA requirements for Neighbourhood Plans and site-specific plans
  5. How to minimise the cost of SEA/SA while still being effective and legally compliant
  6. Legal requirements for Habitats Regulations Assessment and how HRA links with SEA/SA

Who should attend?

  • Planners (land use, transport, minerals, waste, etc.) – how do I do it?  what should I avoid?
  • Planning consultants – how to support planners in doing it?
  • Statutory consultees – what should I expect and how do I provide value added?

Participants should already understand the basic legal requirements and process of SEA/SA.  For instance they should have attended the RTPI introductory masterclass on SEA/SA or have been involved in carrying out most of the stages of an SEA/SA.



9:00 Registration and coffee

9:30 Welcome and introduction

9:40 Quiz: Legal requirements of the SEA/SA

  • A review of the requirements of the SEA Directive and Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act

9:50 Good and bad SEA/SA practice

  • An analysis of two SEA/SA reports to identify what works and what doesn't.
  • Discussion of how to avoid bad SEA/SA practice, and what is cutting edge in terms of good SEA/SA practice

11:00 Coffee and networking

11:15 SEA/SA-related legal judgements and how inspectors treat SEA/SAs

  • Key findings of the legal judgements 'St Aldates', 'Historic Newmarket', 'Greater Norwich', 'HS2' etc.
  • Implications of the legal judgements for SEA/SA practice
  • How inspectors treat SEA/SAs, taking into account the legal judgements

12:00 Reasonable alternatives in SEA/SA

  • Based on the legal judgements and emerging good practice, what are reasonable alternatives, how should they be assessed, and how can this step be documented

12:45 Lunch

1:30 Issues in SEA/SA

  • SEA/SA of site specific plans
  • SEA of Neighbourhood Plans
  • Setting up a monitoring system and monitoring the actual impacts of the plan
  • SEA statements
  • Minimising the cost of SEA/SA

2:45 Tea/coffee

3:00 Habitats Regulations Assessment

  • Legal requirements
  • Carrying out the HRA screening stage in house
  • Examples of HRA
  • How HRA links with SEA

4:15     Close


Trainer: Riki Therivel, Partner, Levett Therivel