Sustainability Appraisal (SA)
Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is an ongoing process undertaken throughout the preparation of a plan or strategy. The role of SA is to assess the extent to which the emerging policies or proposals will achieve environmental, social and economic objectives.
Throughout the production stages, the Local Plan will have its policies and proposals appraised against a framework of sustainability objectives. This provides an opportunity to consider ways in which the plan or strategy can contribute to improvements in environmental, social or economic conditions, as well as a means of identifying and addressing any adverse effects that draft policies and proposals might have.This helps to ensure that our Local Plan promotes sustainable development, which is based around the idea of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for future generations.
The requirement to undertake SA comes from the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. In addition, the European Directive 2001/42/EC, (which came into force in the UK on 21st July 2004), requires that local authorities undertake an 'environmental assessment' of any plans and programmes they prepare that are likely to have a significant effect upon the environment. This process is called 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' (SEA).
SA and SEA are similar processes that involve a comparable series of tasks, the main difference being that the SEA focuses on environmental effects, whereas the SA covers the full range of environmental, social and economic matters. The approach we have adopted incorporates the requirements of both SA and the SEA (in accordance with government guidance). Where the acronym 'SA' is used, it means Sustainability Appraisal under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, which includes the requirements of the SEA Directive.
SA involves five stages and the preparation of two key reports, the process can be seen in the diagram on the right.
The consultation on the SA Scoping Report for the Core Strategy ended in October 2009. All comments received during this consultation were considered during the next stage in the process when we refined the SA Framework and appraise our policy options. An SA Progress Report of Stage B will be published alongside the Local Plan Preferred Options document during winter 2013/14.