The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) constitutes a recent obligation in Portugal under the Decreto-Lei n.º 58/2011, May 4th, which transpose the Directive 2001/42/CE, June 27th, demanding some plans and projects an assessment of its effects on the Environment.
It’s a procedure which promotes the integration of environmental aspects on a strategic level, in policies design, strategies, plans and programs, aiming high standards of environmental sustainability on the final proposal, through a holistic approach, where opportunities and risks of a strategic nature are identified, either biophysically, economically and socially.
Land Management Plans, such as those created by municipalities (PMOTs) are, under the D.L. n.º 46/2009, February 20th, obliged to SEA.
SINERGIAE Ambiente as thus far preformed Strategic Environmental Assessment on 21 PMOTs.
- Municipal Master Plans: 15
- Urban Development Plans: 2
- Urban Design Plans: 4
Preforming SEA requires a multidisciplinary team, integrating expertise from Land Management and Cultural Heritage, to the physical aspects of Environmental Quality (climate, water, residues, environmental noise, air and energy) and Biodiversity.
The following steps are necessary under an SEA, according to the current legislation:
- Strategic Reference Framework
- Environmental Report (+ Non-Technical Summary)
- Environmental Declaration
Along the SEA process, several competent authorities with specific environmental responsibilities are called to pronounce, some examples include the CCDRs (Regional Development), the AFN (Forestry), the ICNF (Biodiversity) and the ARH (Water) which pronounce technically about the Strategic Reference Framework and the Environmental Report.
As required by the relevant legislation, the execution of the plan or program, and its strategic environmental effects are monitored by the proponent and should be reported, at least, annually.