Strategic Environmental Assessment
European governments have a responsibility to undertake Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in relation to major development plans and programmes. SEA requires a thorough appraisal of the social, economic and environmental implications of alternative future programmes, strategies or scenarios - and communication of this analysis to the wider public - with a view to identifying the best overall options, mechanisms to promote them, appropriate mitigation and an environmental management plan. It goes beyond EIA in so far as it makes a comprehensive assessment of incremental and cumulative issues, which have never been effectively addressed through one-off assessments of individual developments. In so doing it addresses the larger issues of environmental capacity and wider economic impact.