The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive aims to ensure a high level of environmental protection in that environmental considerations are taken into account when preparing, adopting and implementing public plans and programmes. It promotes sustainable development by ensuring that environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes likely to have significant effects on the environment.
This Directive applies to the public plans and programmes (as well as their amendments) which have been prepared and/or adopted by a competent authority and which are subject to legislative, regulatory and administrative rules:
- plans and programmes which are prepared for specific sectors (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste management, water management, telecommunications, tourism, town and country planning and land use) and which set the framework for development consent of projects under the EIA Directive
- plans and programmes for which an assessment is required under Articles 6 and 7 of the Habitats Directive
- plans and programmes which set the framework for future development consent of projects other than those under the EIA Directive (not limited to the sectors listed above) and which EU countries have identified as likely to have significant environmental effects. EU countries can determine this either through case-by-case examination or by specifying types of plans and programmes or by combining both approaches.