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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental consequences of policies, plans and programmes, to ensure that environmental issues are addressed on a par with economic and social considerations before adoption.

RPS has in-house experts in all the SEA disciplines along with our proven track record in environmental consultancy and stakeholder communications. This enables us to deliver SEA reports to the highest professional and technical standards. RPS ensures that the content and analysis within our SEA Environmental Reports rigorously follow the requirements of the SEA Directive.

Our specialists have undertaken SEAs and AAs on a large range of plans and programmes at national, regional and local levels. Our ecological expertise and efficient delivery in this area has ensured repeat business in both the public and private sectors.

Case Studies

SEA & AA for Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan

 

 

RPS was appointed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to assist with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan (RBMP).

This 2nd Cycle RBMP, covering the period 2018 – 2022, aims to build on the progress made during the 1st Cycle Plans and it will set out Ireland’s approach to protecting and restoring the water environment as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), 2000/60/EC.

In the first cycle, measures included licensing of urban waste water discharges and associated investment in urban waste water treatment and the implementation of the Nitrates Action Programme (through the Good Agricultural Practice Regulations S.I. 31 of 2014). However, it has been acknowledged that the development and implementation of supporting measures during the first cycle was not sufficiently progressed and changes were needed to effect the kind of outcomes needed to achieve the objectives of the WFD. These changes relate to governance and administration of measures, a better knowledge base for focussed investment and realistic levels of ambition tied to available resources.

The SEA and AA for the second cycle RBMP process commenced in early 2016. The RPS team prepared a draft scoping report and hosted a scoping workshop with key stakeholders including the EPA and Irish Water. An assessment of the proposed programme of measures was then prepared and was published with the Draft Second Cycle River Basin Management Plan for public consultation in February 2017.

The SEA has fed into the measures, including suggesting mitigation and improvements in measures to offer wider benefits than just to the water environment.

SEA & AA for the National Planning Framework – Project Ireland 2040

 

 

RPS was appointed by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government to prepare the SEA and AA for the National Planning Framework (NPF).

The plan, published in 2018, is a national document that will guide strategic planning and development for the country over the next 20 years. The objective of the NPF is to establish a broad national plan for the Government in relation to the strategic planning of urban and rural areas, to secure regional development, and to secure the co-ordination of regional spatial and economic strategies and city and county development plans.

It aims to ensure sustainable growth in economic, social and environmental terms, as the population grows by a projected one million people. It focuses on economic development and investment in housing, water services, transport, communications, energy, health and education infrastructure.

Following scoping of the SEA in 2016, the SEA team undertook the assessment of national policy objectives to inform the development of the NPF for public consultation in 2017.

The final SEA Statement provides information on the decision-making process. It records how environmental considerations have been integrated into the NPF. It also summarises how the SEA environmental report, submissions and observations made by the public and designated statutory consultees have been taken into account during the preparation of the NPF.

SEA and AA for the Three Regional Waste Management Plans

 

 

Ireland's three Regional Waste Management Plans were published in 2015, covering the new Eastern-Midlands, Connacht-Ulster and Southern Regions for the period 2015 – 2021.

RPS assisting and supported all of the local authorities across the three regions in the preparation of the Regional Waste Management Plans. We have also completed Strategic Environmental Assessments and Appropriate Assessments for each of the plans.

The strategic vision of these regional waste plans was to rethink our approach to managing wastes, by viewing our waste streams as valuable material resources that can contribute to a healthier environment and sustainable commercial opportunities for our economy. They strive to improve the recovery and generation of energy by maximising the resource value and the energy embodied in our waste materials. They promote a move to a circular economy, in which we make better use of our resources.

Key overall targets for all of the plans include eliminating unprocessed residual waste going to landfill from next year, increasing municipal recycling rates to 50% by 2020 and to reduce the amount of household waste generated by 1% each year over the six years of the plans. Each of the plans underwent extensive public consultation during their development; they have been informed and shaped by the people and stakeholders in the regions.

The RPS SEA & AA team managed a scoping workshop with the statutory authorities, review of strategic alternatives with the waste plan teams, mitigation measures in the form of additional text, policy revision and additions and the preparation of a Natura Impact Assessment.