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Strategic Environmental Assessment (plans and programs)

The Environmental Impact Assessment is a process designed to anticipate and report on the effects of a project or a specific plan or program may cause to the environment.

On the 12th of December 2013 a new law on Environmental Assessment comes into force (Law 21/ 2013 of 9th of December, on Environmental Assessment). With the formulation of this new law, two provisions are merged into one unified regulation: Law 9/2006 of 28th of April on evaluation of the effects of certain plans and programs on the environment, and the Royal Decree 1/2008, of January the 11th, approving the revised text of the Law on environmental Impact Assessment of projects and later modifications to the text.

This law establishes rules governing the environmental assessment of projects, plans and programs that may have significant effects on the environment. The environmental assessment of plans and programs (Strategic Environmental Assessment) does not exclude the environmental impact assessment of the projects derived from them.

In Catalonia, legislation on environmental impact assessment is as follows:

  • Decree 114/1988 of 7th of April, on Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Law 6/2009 of 28th of April, on Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes

Strategic Environmental Assessment (plans and programs)

The Strategic Environmental Assessment of plans and programs (SEA) is an instrument that applies to those plans and programs that can have significant effects on the environment. It involves a specific administrative procedure that integrates into the administrative process of those plans and programmes.

Its main purpose is to ensure that the impacts of those plans and programmes on the environment are appropriately considered and integrated from the beginning and throughout all their process of design and development, administrative processing, execution and implementation.

The environmental assessment process is integrated in the administrative processing of each type of plan or program, to the extent of unifying as much as possible procedures and consultations in order to avoid duplication and achieve maximum simplification.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment can also be, according to Article 6 of Law 21/2013 of 9th of December, classified in:

  • Ordinary: those that establish the framework for the future authorization of projects legally subject to environmental impact assessments, those which require an assessment due to their possible effects on areas of the Natura 2000 network, those included in Appendix II when so requested by the environmental body and environmental plans and programs in Appendix II when so determined by the environmental agency at the request of the developer.
  • Or simplified: if minor changes to the plans and programs referred to in the preceding paragraph, plans and programs mentioned in the previous section establishing the use, city-scale, small areas of extension, and the plans and programs that establishing a framework for future development consent of projects do not meet other requirements set.

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