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Strategic Environmental Assessment

Welsh landscape

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a process which looks at the effects that a plan or programme is likely to have on the environment before it is started.

SEA is designed to be integrated into the development stages of a plan or programme and to influence decision-making throughout.

The SEA regulations require certain proposed plans and programmes that may have an impact on the environment to assess their likely effect.  This is done through the production of an Environmental Report and subsequent consultation with Cadw, Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency Wales (the Consultation Bodies for Wales).

There is no definitive list of plans and programmes which will be covered by the SEA regulations, each case must be considered on an individual basis. The responsibility for deciding if the plan or programme is covered by the regulations lies with the organisation that is preparing the plan or programme. The Practical Guide to the SEA Directive gives a suggested list of plans and programmes that will be caught and also specifies the criteria for applying the SEA Directive.

The SEA Directive will not cover plans and programmes on which work formally began before 21 July 2004 unless they remain unadopted by 21 July 2006.

More detailed guidance is available on this site and will be of use to those who are involved in carrying out SEA on a plan or programme. There is also access to ‘The Practical Guide to the SEA Directive (external link)’, The EU Directive (2001/42/EC) (external link) and Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Wales) Regulations (S.I. 2004/1656 (W/170)) (external link).

To inform us of SEA’s that you are doing, please email

Contact Details

Strategic Environmental Assessment
Sustainable Development Branch
Welsh Government
3rd Floor
Cathays Park 2
CF10 3NQ

029 2082 1728