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Current practice in the strategic environmental assessment of development plans in England

Short, Michael; Jones, Carys; Carter, Jeremy; Baker, Mark; Wood, Christopher


Michael Short

Carys Jones

Jeremy Carter

Mark Baker

Christopher Wood


In the UK, strategic environmental assessment has been applied to the full hierarchy of development plans in the form of environmental appraisal. Government guidance in England contains a forceful recommendation to local planning authorities to assess the environmental effects of proposed development plans by carrying out an environmental appraisal of their policies and proposals. This advice has grown in importance with the adoption of the European Directive on strategic environmental assessment. Research undertaken into current appraisal practice provides a context for the implementation of the Directive in England. The results show a broadly positive outlook towards strategic environmental assessment and a move towards using sustainability appraisal. Furthermore, they show other benefits from the process additional to assessing the core environmental impacts of the plan. However, it is clear that there remain major structural weaknesses and concerns in the manner in which strategic environmental assessment processes are implemented. Thus, more than two-thirds of the respondents to a survey stated that the appraisal had little or no influence on development plan objectives and policies, and nearly two-thirds believed that their plan would have developed in the same manner without any appraisal having been undertaken. © 2004 Regional Studies Association.


Short, M., Jones, C., Carter, J., Baker, M., & Wood, C. (2004). Current practice in the strategic environmental assessment of development plans in England. Regional Studies, 38(2), 177-190.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2004
Journal Regional Studies
Print ISSN 0034-3404
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 177-190
Keywords environmental appraisal, sustainability appraisal, development plans, strategic environmental assessment
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Reports findings of £100,000 ESRC research project. Research conceived in advance of adoption of statutory SEA across EU to provide baseline information on English use of SEA in development planning. Earlier versions presented at University of Manchester and IAIA conferences in The Hague and Marrakesh.

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