Christchurch and East Dorset Sustainability Appraisal
The sustainability appraisal (SA) is a systematic process undertaken during the preparation of local plans that ensures they make an effective contribution to the pursuit of 'sustainable development'.
The sustainability appraisal's role is to assess the extent to which the emerging policies and proposals contained within local plan documents will help to achieve relevant environmental, social and economic objectives. In doing so, it provides an opportunity to consider ways in which the plan or strategy can contribute to improvements in environmental, social and economic conditions, as well as a means of identifying and addressing any adverse effects that draft policies and proposals might have.
Christchurch and East Dorset Councils were originally intending to prepare part 2 of their Local Plan, to cover site allocations and development management polices. However, it is now been agreed to undertake a full Local Plan review.
As part of the first stage of the Local Plan review, and to address the requirements of the Sustainability Appraisal, incorporating a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA), we asked for comments on the scope and level of detail in the report. The consultation on this has now closed, thank you for the comments received. The document is still available to view:
What is the Scoping Report?
The purpose of this Scoping Report is to provide the context for, and determine the scope of, the SA/SEA of the Local Plan and to set out the framework for undertaking the later stages of the SA/SEA. Christchurch and East Dorset Councils commissioned LUC to carry out Sustainability Appraisal (SA) incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), Health Impact Assessment and (HIA) and Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA).
What is Strategic Environmental Assessment?
European Directive 2001/42/EC requires an 'environmental assessment' of plans and programmes prepared by public authorities that are likely to have a significant effect upon the environment. This process is referred to commonly as 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' (SEA), and covers relevant plans and programmes whose formal preparation began after 21 July 2004. Among the documents to which this requirement will apply are land use plans that cover a wide area, such as the Christchurch and East Dorset local plans. The SEA will form the environmental part of the SA.
This scoping report will use an approach that addresses the requirements of SEA and SA simultaneously, by giving full consideration to environmental issues whilst also addressing the spectrum of socio-economic concerns. In terms of the specific requirements of the Directive, the scoping report and the sustainability appraisal report on the draft local development documents will together meet the need for an 'Environmental Report', as required by the SEA Directive, setting out the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the draft plan (and the reasonable alternatives that have been considered).