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Introduction to Sustainability Appraisal (Strategic Environmental Assessment)

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 at 9:30AM - 4:30PM
The Hatton (etc Venues), 51-53 Hatton Garden, London
£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
RTPI Conferences

The European Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment and the Local Planning Regulations 2012 respectively require strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and sustainability appraisal (SA). SA applies to Local Plans, and to Neighbourhood Plans and Supplementary Planning Documents if these are likely to have significant environmental effects.  SEA applies to these plans, plus local transport plans, waste and minerals plans, and a wide range of other plans and programmes.  SA/SEA may be affected by Brexit, and is under fire by the Local Plans Expert Group.  But should it be?

This introductory masterclass explains how to fulfil the legal requirements of SEA and SA, and how to use the SEA/SA processes to help improve plans.  It provides a detailed analysis of the legal requirements for SEA and SA, and discusses differences between the two processes.  It then goes through the SEA/SA process step by step, explaining how to carry out that step, with the help of both good and bad examples.  There is plenty of time for discussion and queries. 

By the end of the class, participants should know when SEA and/or SA are required, be able to carry out an SEA/SA, and intelligently review an SEA/SA.

A linked masterclass – Current issues in SEA/SA – provides more in-depth understanding of how recent planning changes affect SEA/SA practice.

Benefits of attending:

This masterclass will help you understand:

  1. Legal requirements for SEA/SA
  2. How to collect and format baseline sustainability/environmental data for SEA/SA
  3. How to analyse and format the plan’s links to other policies, plans, programmes and sustainability/environmental objectives
  4. How to identify sustainability/ environmental problems
  5. How to devise SEA/SA objectives
  6. Which parts of a plan and what 'reasonable alternatives' to assess and how
  7. Mitigation and monitoring of plan impacts
  8. What resources are needed for SEA/SA
  9. What can be expected of SEA/SA consultants

Who should attend?

  • Planners (land use, transport, minerals, waste, etc.) – how do I do it?
  • Planning consultants – how to support planners in doing it?
  • Sustainability officers – how do I ensure that sustainability is fully integrated?



9.00 Registration and coffee

9.30 Welcome and introduction

9.40 SEA requirements: the SEA Directive and Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004

  • A detailed look at the requirements of the SEA Directive, with reference to current best practice and successful legal challenges

11.00 Coffee and networking

11.15 SA requirements: the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

  • Links between SA, SEA and plan-making
  • Documenting how the SA fulfils SEA requirements

11.40 The scoping stage

  • Analysing other policies, plans and projects, and the 'do nothing' scenario
  • Describing the environmental/sustainability baseline
  • Identifying and describing existing environmental problems and sustainability issues
  • Developing an SA/SEA framework

12.40 Lunch

1.15 Alternatives

  • What are 'reasonable alternatives'
  • Assessing and comparing alternatives
  • Documenting the assessment and the choice of preferred options/alternatives

2.20 Break

2.40 Assessment and mitigation

  • What parts of the draft plan to assess
  • Documenting the assessment and proposed mitigation measures
  • Post-decision SEA requirements

3.15 SA/SEA case study

4.20 Close


Trainer: Riki Therivel, Partner, Levett-Therivel