Strategic Environmental Assessment

Urban Edge Environmental Consulting is a specialist in Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the statutory process of appraising the environmental effects of plans and programmes in search of better, more sustainable outcomes for environmental receptors, driven by Directive 2001/42/EC.  In the UK, Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is a requirement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and, for certain local development plan documents, incorporates an SEA procedure.

  • Our Clients

    Fareham Borough Council have worked with Urban Edge (UEEC) for over 5 years on Sustainability Appraisals and Habitats Regulations Assessments to accompany our Local Plans. Urban Edge provide an extremely professional, knowledgeable and good value service, tailored to fit to our often challenging timeframes. Reporting is always detailed and clear on what are complex technical areas, whilst advice is always quick and pragmatic. I would have no hesitation in recommending UEEC’s services to anyone.

    Adam Collier, Principal Planner (Strategy and Regeneration), Fareham Borough Council
    See More
  • Our Clients

    Urban Edge, within a very short timescale, provided a thorough and accurate SEA for our Neighbourhood Plan. Over half the Parish lies within the Chichester Harbour AONB with its protected areas for nature conservation, some being of international significance. We also have nearly 40 Listed buildings, several historic settlements, including a Conservation Area, and many other constraints. The work done by Urban Edge was invaluable in helping select sites for the 350 required new homes (12% increase parish wide) and went unchallenged. They were easy to work with and we would not hesitate to have them again.

    Robert Hayes, Chair, Southbourne Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
    See More
  • Our Clients

    Thanks for the swift response. I was saying to members of my team at our meeting yesterday that I will be using your company henceforth wherever and whenever I lead any future development plan preparation.

    Patrick Akindude, Principal Planner (Strategy), Fareham Borough Council
    See More
  • Our Clients

    Isle of Wight Council Highways Team sought advice on the environmental implications of a nearly £1billion, 25 year programme of highways upgrade, maintenance and operation. Working on the Habitats Regulations Assessment (and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment), they took a very professional and knowledgeable approach to the subject and met all our tight deadlines with ease. They quickly became part of the PFI team and interacted well. The director was an asset at meetings with prospective bidders and outside bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, always having the necessary information to hand. I have no hesitation in making a recommendation.

    Malcolm Smith, Technical Manager, Highways PFI Team, Isle of Wight Council
    See More

SEA and SA is carried out for a range of plans and programmes in the UK and Europe and provides a means to assess the environmental and socio- economic effects of a plan at various points during its preparation. Our team has carried out a range of SEAs and SAs since its first application in the UK and has worked extensively with the following sectors:

  • Spatial Planning, including Local Plans, Site Allocations documents, Core Strategies, Area Action Plans and other development plan documents
  • Transport: Transport plans and implementation programmes, including Local Transport Planning in England
  • Minerals and Waste : Minerals and Waste Development Plans and Frameworks
  • Economy: Regional Economic Strategies
  • Landscape: Protected landscape plans, such as AONB Management Plans
  • Communities: Sustainable Community Strategies and Neighbourhood Plans

Our team is able to assist with any aspect of the SEA/SA process. Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • A full service SEA/SA, from Scoping to Adoption
  • Distinct stages of the SA process, including any combination of the following: preparation of the Scoping Report; assessment of alternatives; appraisal of earlier and later versions of the plan; the full Environmental Report; support at Examination; and/or the preparation of the SEA Environmental Statement / SA Adoption Statement
  • Provision of guidance and advice for in-house SEA and SA, including Quality Assurance reviews of SEA/SA processes carried out to date
  • Capacity building and training to assist the development of in-house capacity for SEA and SA
  • Baseline studies to inform the SEA/SA process
  • Incorporation of additional appraisal processes within the SA process, including Equalities Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment and consideration of Ecosystems Services
  • Ad hoc advice on SEA/SA, including at Examination
  • Advice on tiering related levels of environmental assessment for policies, plans, programmes and projects, linked to SEA/SA, Habitats Regulations Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment

Urban Edge Environmental Consulting is a first and last port of call for all SEA and SA services. Our approach to SEA/SA seeks to support our clients to achieve their objectives in the most appropriate and sustainable manner, by helping them to prepare cost effective, legally robust and fully auditable SEA/SA. For statutory SEA/SA, we have developed an innovative methodology that combines legal requirements with best practice guidance, providing a robust, flexible procedure. This methodology is fully integrated, easy to use and accurate in its application, offering excellent value to our local authority and public sector clients.

Our approach to SEA/SEA is not limited; it does not merely aim to meet the minimum requirements of the SEA Directive. Instead our SEA and SA services proactively seek to inform and influence the plan-making process at all stages to maximise the environmental and sustainability value of the plan. For this reason our clients highly value our input into the plan-making process, and our accessible, innovative and collaborative approach. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that we have built up exciting long-term relationships with a number of our clients to provide ongoing SEA and SA services.

Ecological Surveys

Impact Assessments

Environmental Planning


Biodiversity Net Gain