The Plaistow & Ifold Parish – Neighbourhood Plan (PIPNP) has been screened in by Chichester District Council (CDC) and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) as requiring a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). SEA is a mechanism for considering and communicating the potential impacts of an emerging plan, and potential alternatives in terms of key environmental issues. The aim of SEA is to inform and influence the plan-making process with a view to avoiding and mitigating potential negative impacts. Through this approach, the SEA for the PIPNP seeks to maximise the emerging plan’s contribution to sustainable development.
SEA is undertaken to meet specific requirements prescribed by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 (the SEA Regulations).
Two key procedural requirements of the SEA Regulations are that:
- When deciding on ‘the scope and level of detail of the information’ which must be included in the Environmental Report there is a consultation with nationally designated authorities concerned with environmental issues; and
- A report (the ‘Environmental Report’) is published for consultation alongside the Draft Plan (i.e. the draft Plaistow and Ifold Parish Neighbourhood Plan) that presents outcomes from the environmental assessment (i.e. discusses ‘likely significant effects’ that would result from plan implementation) and reasonable alternatives.
AECOM has been commissioned to undertake an independent Strategic Environmental Assessment in support of the emerging PIPNP. Scoping (the current stage) is the second stage of the SEA process.
At this scoping stage, the SEA Regulations require consultation with statutory consultation bodies but not consultation with the public. The statutory consultation bodies are the Environment Agency, Historic England and Natural England. The Scoping Report has been released to these three statutory consultees, as well as Chichester District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority for a period of 5 weeks. Consultees are invited to comment on the content of this Scoping Report, in particular the evidence base for the SEA, the identified key issues and the proposed SEA Framework. The last date for responses is 10th July 2017.