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Open group | Started - July 2012 | Last activity - Yesterday

Back to basics - NPs and SEA

richard white, modified 5 Years ago.

Back to basics - NPs and SEA

Advocate Posts: 212 Join Date: 26/11/18 Recent Posts

Custom and practice in my authority is to prepare a detailed screening report considering whether (or not) SEA is required for each of the NPs that are in preparation. These focus on sensitive sites and the likelihood of significant effects following the process set out in:

The NPPG suggests SEA can be required for NPs as well:

"Strategic environmental assessment alone can be required in some limited situations where sustainability appraisal is not needed. This is usually only where either neighbourhood plans or supplementary planning documents could have significant environmental effects.

Paragraph: 001 Reference ID: 11-001-20140306

Revision date: 06 03 2014"

But we all seem to be skipping over this bit (from the ODPM guide):

"The Directive’s field of application

2.5 Under Article 2(a), the plans and programmes subject to the Directive are those which are:

• subject to preparation and/or adoption by an authority at national, regional or local level or which are prepared by an authority for adoption, through a legislative procedure by Parliament or Government, and

• required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions.

2.6 Characteristics of “administrative provisions” are likely to be that they are publicly available, prepared in a formal way, probably involving consultation with interested parties. The administrative provision must have sufficient formality such that it counts as a “provision” and it must also use language that plainly requires rather than just encourages a plan or programme to be prepared."


And in the EU guidance:

"3.2. The first requirement in order for plans and programmes to be subject to the Directive, is that they must meet the conditions of both indents in Article 2(a). In other words, they must be both 'subject to preparation and/or adoption by the prescribed authorities' and 'required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions'."



I'm struggling to see how any NP can ever be classed as 'required'  in these terms.

(Unless perhaps the LP has a policy requirement that an area should have one.)


And if it's not required, isn't it therefore out of scope of the Directive, and isn't there therefore no possibility of SEA being required, and no value in considering the issue further?


Any thoughts/experiences welcome.


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Former Member, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Back to basics - NPs and SEA

I see where are you coming from.

When I was screening NPs I answered this bit with No but still went through the remaining questions. But we just had one plan where a SEA was prepared alongside the HRA.

"There is no requirement, but a right to produce a Neighbourhood Plan existing. If the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted, it will form part of the statutory development plan, it is necessary to determine if an SEA is required."


BUT you are right formally Neighbourhood Plans can be prepared but are not formally "required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions".


Somehow it's quite surprising that no one ever challenged a NP screening on that basis if a NP was deemed to require a SEA but no HRA.