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SEA and planning: 'ownership' of strategic environmental assessment by the planners is the key to its effectiveness

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As the field of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has matured, the focus has moved from the development of legislation, guidelines and methodologies towards improving the effectiveness of SEA. Measuring and of course achieving effectiveness is both complex and challenging. This paper suggests that SEA professionals need to consider 'democratic effectiveness' as well as 'environmental effectiveness' in both 'direct' and 'indirect' outputs. The effectiveness of SEA depends critically on the context within which SEA legislation and guidelines are understood and implemented, and the relationship of the SEA to the planning activity itself. This paper focuses on the influence that planners have in these implementation processes, postulating the hypothesis that these are key players in achieving effectiveness in SEA. Based upon implementation theory and empirical experience, the paper discusses the role of the planners in SEA implementation, concluding that their 'ownership' of SEA is crucial for both democratic and environmental effectiveness.
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Keywords: IMPLEMENTATION THEORY; SEA EFFECTIVENESS; SEA INTEGRATION; SEA OWNERSHIP; STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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