Statutory Regulations: Scotland

The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Regulations (2004)

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for ensuring that environmental issues are taken into account at every stage in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and review of plans, programmes and strategies. The requirement for assessment has come from Directive 2001/42/EC, known as the Environmental Assessment Directive. In Scotland this was brought into practice by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. SEA is carried out by the authority responsible for the production of the plan, programme or strategy. Implementation of SEA allows for better integration of environmental considerations at the heart of decision-making through a more rigorous and transparent planning process. It benefits the development planning process and provides a framework enabling the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of individual projects to be more efficiently and effectively targeted.

Find out more >> The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (Scottish SI No 258)

Find out more >> Practical Guide to SEA Directive

Find out more >> SEA in Scotland

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The Environmental Assessment (EIA) Regulations (1999 as amended)

Find out more >> EIA in Scotland: Circular 8/2007 The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999

Find out more >> Environmental Impact Assessment - Scottish Natural Heritage

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) seeks to ensure that the environmental effects of major projects and development proposals are fully investigated, understood and taken into account before decisions are made on whether they should proceed or not.

The framework for this is provided by European Directive: 85/337/EEC, as amended by 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC. Implementation is through different instruments in the countries of the UK. In Scotland this is implemented through a variety of statutory Regulations which govern the assessment process and identify that projects requiring assessment are mainly those requiring planning permission, but also include forestry and agriculture related projects, marine works, and oil and gas pipelines.

An EIA is carried out by, or on behalf, of a developer or project proposer and is submitted along with a planning application. The assessment includes all of the stages of a project from site investigations to construction to operation and monitoring.

Stage 1: Screening
The EIA regulations apply only to certain types of development and the competent authority (ie local planning authority) must assess whether the proposal is an 'EIA development' by referring to Schedules 1, 2 and 3. This process is called 'screening'.

Stage 2: Scoping
Where a scheme is an 'EIA development', the developer can ask the planning authority for advice on the scope of information required.

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The Habitat Regulations (1994) as amended in Scotland) 

Find out more >> Habitat Regulations in Scotland

Find out more >> The Habitat Regulations 1994

The Habitats Regulations 1994 (as amended in Scotland) implement the species protection requirements of the European Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats (the Habitats Directive) in Scotland on land and inshore waters (0-12 nautical miles).  Following a European Court of Justice ruling against the UK Member State in 2005, there have been several amendments to the Regulations which apply only to Scotland (made in 2004, 2007, 2008(a) and 2008(b) ). 

The most significant amendment in Scotland was in 2007 and is the one which should be referred to here The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007

Thus, the Scottish Regulations do not mirror those for England and Wales. These regulations provide for the designation and protection of 'European Sites', the protection of 'European Protected Species' and the adaptation of planning controls for the protection of such sites and species.

Under the regulations, public bodies have a duty in exercising their functions to have regard to the EC Habitats Directive.