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Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment

What is a Sustainability Appraisal (SA)?

To ensure that policies and proposals in the East Riding Local Plan contribute to sustainable development, each document produced will be subject to a Sustainability Appraisal (SA).

This is because a key requirement of the Local Plan is that it contributes to the aims of Sustainable Development. The government defines Sustainable Development as:

  • Living within environmental limits
  • Ensuring a strong healthy and just society
  • Achieving a sustainable economy
  • Promoting good governance
  • Using sound science responsibly

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What is a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)?

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is necessary under the requirements of the EU Directive on SEA.  The role of SEA is to assess the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment.

In England, the SEA can be carried out as part of a Sustainability Appraisal and this is usually the case for the Development Plan Documents prepared in the East Riding.

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What is the SA/SEA process?

The SA/SEA process for Development Plan Documents (documents produced as part of the Local Plan) involves a number of stages which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Setting out current information about the East Riding as it is today and developing 'sustainability objectives' which the Local Plan should work towards in order to achieve sustainable development

  2. Identifying key issues affecting sustainable development in the East Riding

  3. Testing the plans and policies in the Local Plan document under preparation against the sustainability objectives, in order to determine how they contribute to sustainable development

  4. Using the results from 3) above, suggest and incorporate changes to the Local Plan document to ensure that it meets the sustainability objectives

  5. Once the document has been adopted, its effect on sustainable development must be monitored

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What is a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)?

In the UK, the European Habitats Directive (Directive 92/42/EEC) requires an assessment where a plan or project under consideration is likely to have a significant effect on a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA).

The assessment should also consider sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites), potential SPAs and candidate SACs.

The stages of HRA are:

Stage 1 – Screening: To test whether a plan or project either alone or in combination with other plans and projects is likely to have a significant effect on an international site;

Stage 2 – Appropriate Assessment: To determine whether, in view of an international site’s conservation objectives, the plan (either alone or in combination with other projects and plans) would have an adverse effect (or risk of this) on the integrity of the site with respect to the site structure, function and conservation objectives. If adverse impacts are anticipated , potential mitigation measures to alleviate impacts should be proposed and assessed;

Stage 3 – Assessment of alternative solutions: Where a plan is assessed as having an adverse impact (or risk of this) on the integrity of an international site, there should be an examination of alternatives (e.g. alternative locations and designs of development); and

Stage 4 – Assessment where no alternative solutions remain and where adverse impacts remain: In exceptional circumstance (e.g. where there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest), compensatory measures to be put in place to offset negative impacts.

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Have any SA/SEA or Habitats Regulations Assessments been prepared for the East Riding?

A number of sustainability appraisals have been prepared for the East Riding Local Plan. Please view the individual Development Plan Document (DPD) pages for details: Strategy DocumentAllocations DocumentBridlington AAPJoint Waste PlanJoint Minerals Plan. An SA was also prepared for the Issues and Options (2005) paper and the Smaller Settlements DPD which are no longer being progressed.

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