Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment
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Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment

Edited by Thomas B. Fischer and Ainhoa González

This comprehensive Handbook shows how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), an important decision support tool for strategies, policies, plans and programmes, is applied globally. It reflects on SEA practices and the advancements made over the past three decades in the development of SEA.
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Chapter 15: Integrating appropriate assessment and strategic environmental assessment

Paul Scott


“Appropriate Assessment” (AA), also known as “Habitats Regulations Assessment” or “Habitats Directive Assessment” is undertaken for certain projects and plans under the EC Habitats Directive Article 6(3). The AA process often runs parallel to SEA when applied to strategic plans and programmes, and there are several stages at which there are overlapping methodological steps. AA has been the subject of a cascade of case law at national and European scales in the last decade, which has largely clarified the procedural steps and standards that must be met; but AA practice across Europe still shows enormous variation. In contrast, the European SEA Directive sets the standard framework for a process of impact assessment at the strategic level across all EU member states with less room for challenge. There are areas of overlap and conflict in the areas of SEA and AA legislation, procedure and performance. Whilst there are opportunities for the two assessment processes to be integrated either procedurally or in terms of outputs, there are fundamental differences in both their purpose and substance.

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