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REFIT Evaluation of the SEA Directive

Council Directive 2001/42/EC of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive)

In a nutshell
The Commission is currently evaluating the SEA Directive to ensure that it is "fit for purpose".

In practice
As part of its Better Regulation policy, the Commission initiated the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), a rolling programme to keep the entire stock of EU legislation under review. It affects the whole policy cycle, from initiation to evaluation, and aims to make EU law simpler and less costly.
REFIT evaluations provide an evidence-based critical analysis of whether EU actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected. They cover environmental, economic and social aspects, and concern all EU policy areas.

Open public consultation

On the 23rd April 2018 the Commission has launched a public consultation in the framework of the ongoing evaluation of the SEA Directive that will be opened until the 23th July 2018.

This public consultation in the form of a questionnaire aims to gather information and the views of stakeholders and the wider public on how the SEA Directive has perceived and performed, including the value of having uniform EU legislation requiring the environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes, and the value of the opportunity the legislation provides for public and stakeholder input to the preparation and adoption of certain plans and programmes.

The questionnaire with additional information is available on the public consultations page.

The Roadmap
The evaluation Roadmap is the "project plan". It sets out the subject of the evaluation and its purpose and provides key information on the scope, timing, data, stakeholder consultation and analysis planned to be used.

The key questions to be addressed are set out in the roadmap:

  • Effectiveness (Have the objectives been met?)
  • Efficiency (Were the costs involved reasonable?)
  • Coherence (Does the policy complement other actions or are there contradictions?)
  • Relevance (Is EU action still necessary?)
  • EU added value (Can or could similar changes have been achieved at national/regional level, or did EU action provide clear added value?)

The evaluation is covering the application of the entire SEA Directive in all EU Member States from the date of its application (21 July 2004), including its relation with relevant international environmental treaties such as the SEA Protocol, and the Aarhus Convention. The evaluation will aim to consider all relevant aspects, i.e. legal (e.g. legal base, internal coherence and consistency with other legislation, terminology and definitions, etc.), environmental, economic and social. The evaluation will examine what has worked well, what has not worked well, and why.

The evaluation will rely on an evidence-based approach. Relevant literature, reports will be reviewed and consultation will take place with relevant stakeholders, including national, local and regional authorities, institutions, NGOs and organizations, while ensuring adequate and wide geographical representation within the EU. The evaluation will identify any shortcomings with its implementation and enforcement, and point out the causes of such shortcomings, including gaps in the existing legislation. Finally the evaluation will include evidence based conclusions.