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:
- What is good and bad in SEA/SA practice: how to promote the former and avoid the latter
- The conclusions and implications of recent SEA/SA-related legal challenges
- How to identify 'reasonable alternatives' in the light of the legal challenges and changes to the planning system
- Specific SEA/SA requirements for Neighbourhood Plans and site-specific plans
- How to minimise the cost of SEA/SA while still being effective and legally compliant
- 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
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
3:00 Habitats Regulations Assessment
- Legal requirements
- Carrying out the HRA screening stage in house
- Examples of HRA
- How HRA links with SEA
Trainer: Riki Therivel, Partner, Levett Therivel