We ensure the long-term protection and survival of Scotland's environment by ensuring that environmental assessments are carried out for all qualifying strategies, plans, programmes or projects that may have an impact on the environment.
We require the following assessments to be carried out:
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for evaluating the significant environmental effects likely to arise from proposed development projects
- Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) for plans that are likely to have an effect on a 'Natura 2000' site selected for protection by the European Union
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for all qualifying public plans, programmes and strategies
The current requirement for EIA in Scotland comes from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU) which is implemented through The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017, which came into force on 16 May 2017.
There are other statutory EIA regulations covering other sectors, such as Forestry, Energy, Trunk Roads and Agriculture, between which there are subtle differences.
HRA stems from the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, which require the relevant plan authority to undertake an 'appropriate assessment' of plans that are likely to have an adverse effect on a 'Natura 2000' site.
Natura 2000 is the Europe-wide network of protected sites developed under the European Commission Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC) and the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC).
The process for determining whether an appropriate assessment is required, together with the appropriate assessment itself (where necessary) is known as the Habitats Regulations Appraisal.
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 extended SEA beyond the requirements of the original Directive, so that in Scotland every qualifying public plan, programme and strategy is assessed for its likely environmental effects and, where likely to be significant, opportunities are sought to avoid adverse impacts and enhance positive ones.
The findings of the Environmental Assessment support the public consultation of a qualifying plan or programme, ensuring that those with an interest, or likely to be affected, are able to understand the environmental implications and offered an opportunity to have their views taken into account.
Bills and legislation
- The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
- The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2010
- The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005
- The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations 1994
Phone: 0131 244 7650
SEA Gateway Team
EIA team (for Planning only)
Phone: 0131 244 7650
Planning and Architecture Division
Area 2-H (South)