The steps of an SEA show large similarities to those of an EIA, albeit there are some differences in the details. While the concept of screening exists under the SEA Directive as well, it is plans and programmes using small areas at local level, minor modifications to plans and programmes and plans and programmes as setting the framework for future “non-EIA projects” and “non-sector” plans and programmes that are to be screened under the SEA Directive.
Another difference to the EIA procedure is that while in the EIA only voluntary scoping is required as a minimum from the transposing national legislation, in the SEA process scoping is mandatory. The reason for this difference is very practical: while in the case of a number of projects for which an EIA is required, the environmental factors and impacts that are to assessed may be rather straightforward; in the case of plans and programmes, this is not the case. Therefore, the requirement of mandatory scoping provides the necessary regulatory stability to limit the assessment in cases where it would be rather difficult to set the frontiers thereof otherwise.
Source: Presentation of the European Commission at the 11th meeting of the Energy Community Environmental Task Force, June 2016
Developed by the Academy of European Law (ERA)