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SCOTLAND: Finnie comments on draft guidance for environmental management

June 23, 2004 12:00 AM

Draft guidance on measures which will put environmental considerations at the core of public plans and programmes were today published jointly by the Executive, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and other Devolved Administrations.

Strategic Environmental Assessment regulations, which came into effect on July 21, oblige authorities to consider and consult on the environmental impact of programmes and plans covering agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste management, telecommunications, tourism, and town and country planning and land use.

In Scotland these regulations will be enhanced by legislation expected to be introduced later this year.

Further guidance for Scottish bodies to be published in due course will supersede the draft document published today.

Ross Finnie, Minister for Environment and Rural Development said:

"The Scottish Executive is committed to putting the environment at the heart of all we do in developing policy and programmes.

"The regulations introduced on July 21 mark the start of that process. These regulations and the guidance now issuing for consultation take us some way forward, however we are committed to taking SEA further in Scotland and we will be introducing a Bill and associated Scottish specific guidance in due course.

"By requiring all public bodies to produce a report on the environmental impacts of their proposals and consulting on that report, the SEA process offers the opportunity to better protect our environment, to bring the public closer to the policy making and planning process and to improve the work of all public bodies."

SEA Regulations - The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004 - that ensure compliance with the European Directive on SEA have been introduced following a comprehensive consultation exercise and came into force on July 20.

These regulations will be revoked once the Bill is in force and the European Directive provisions included in the Bill.

The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Scotland Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/258) implement Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (known as the Strategic Environmental Assessment or SEA Directive).