Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is a tool to support preparation of plans and policy; it can also support planning applications for development consent. Integrated Assessment (IA) aims for efficiencies by integrating various assessments where relevant, including Health and Equality Assessments. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a statutory requirement for certain plans and may be integrated into SA or IA.
We have wide practical experience gained over more than 20 years and have undertaken over 300 SAs, SEAs & IAs of plans in all sectors and at all levels throughout the UK. Our expertise and experience also include independent compliance reviews, critical friend, preparation of practice guidance, development of methods, support at Examination and successful rebuttal of SEA legal challenges.
Examples of Projects:
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY INTEGRATED APPRAISAL (SA/IA) incorporating SEA, HEALTH, EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT and HRA/AA of THE DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY LOCAL PLAN (DNPALP)
SA, SEA, EqIA, Health Impact Assessment of plan for the National Park being prepared during a time of fundamental planning & environmental assessment changes. The Local Plan also has to accommodate diverse uses and needs to enhance the important natural resources, including recreational pressures from the major development proposed around the National Park boundary. Examination scheduled for 2021.
Cited as good practice in PAS Evidence for Plan Making a focus upon proportionality 2020 https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/PAS_Evidence%20for%20Plan%20Making_1.0.pdf
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (SEA) of THE STRATFORD-ON-AVON SITE ALLOCATIONS PLAN (SAP)
SA & SEA of plan with considerable numbers of potential site options. The SA/SEA was used innovatively by working with Officers in a proactive and iterative way to identify and test a complex range of strategic alternative approaches and including a tiered approach to informing plan-making. Examination likely later in 2021.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (SEA) of THE WARWICK CLIMATE CHANGE/SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS DPD & CANALSIDE DPD
SA & SEA of DPDs being prepared during 2019-21 as part of the adopted Local Plan (2017) to address development opportunities and commitments to the climate change crisis.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (SEA) of THE WALES LOW CARBON PLAN (LCDP) 2016-2020
In association with Risk Policy Analysts (RPA Ltd), Enfusion prepared the SA/SEA of the plan setting out the first carbon budget and in alignment with the well-being goals embedded in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The LCDP & SA Report published in 2019.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (SEA) of THE WEST OXFORDSHIRE DISTRICT LOCAL PLAN
Retained during 2014-2018 as independent reviewer & critical friend; preparation of notes and reports for the Examination – complex and under considerable scrutiny from developers and community groups – preparation of SA Addenda. Enfusion worked closely with Officers to identify & test complex tiering of strategic alternatives for the spatial sub-areas & policy approaches, including accommodating the proposed garden village. The WOLP was found sound & adopted in 2018.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY/INTEGRATED APPRAISAL (SA/IA) incorporating SEA, HEALTH, EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT and HRA/AA of THE SOUTH WORCESTERSHIRE DEVELOPMENT PLAN (SWDP)
Retained during 2008-2016 for SA, SEA, EqIA, Health Impact Assessment, HRA of, including strategic options for distributing development, core policies, and strategic sites; preparation of SA Reports; support at Examination, including preparation of SA Addendum Reports to address issues raised during consultation. The SWDP was found sound and adopted on 25 February 2016 http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating SEA of LOCAL PLAN
Cheshire East Council
SA/SEA specialists commissioned as critical friend to undertake independent compliance review and then help Officers improve the robustness of earlier SA/SEA work; support with structure of final SA Report to accompany Submission Local Plan. Retained for additional SA work during complex extended Examination; Plan found sound & adopted 2017.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating SEA of ROCHFORD CORE STRATEGY
Rochford District Council
SA/SEA specialists commissioned as critical friend to undertake compliance review and then help Officers improve the robustness of earlier SA work especially of reasonable alternatives for spatial options; revisited SA and refreshed with preparation of SA Addendum Report; support to Council at SEA legal challenge (click here for Judgment) – successfully rebutted; Core Strategy found sound and adopted.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL (SA) incorporating SEA, HEALTH, EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT and HRA/AA of JOINT CORE STRATEGY
Gloucester, Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Councils
SA, SEA, EqIA, Health Impact Assessment, HRA/AA of Joint Core Strategy, including strategic options for distributing development, core policies, and strategic sites; preparation of report on SA/SEA of alternatives and options assessment; preparation of SA & HRA Reports; support at Examination, JCS found sound & adopted 2017.
PROJECT: APPRAISAL of SUSTAINABILITY (AoS) incorporating SEA and HABITATS REGULATIONS ASSESSMENT of ENERGY NATIONAL POLICY STATEMENTS
Enfusion: development of methods; specialists in AoS, SA/SEA, HRA/AA
MWH: project management, technical specialists
AoS/SEA & HRA of the new National Policy Statements; development of assessment methods, including CEA, strategic & local significance for the Nuclear NPS – a national plan with potentially suitable sites for new power stations; appraisal & mitigation suggestions, including possibilities to inform the development consent process by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC); iterative & ongoing assessment & consultation with DECC plan makers and statutory consultees; outline monitoring strategy.
Following public consultation, re-appraisal of the other Energy NPSs EN1-5 (Overarching, Fossil Fuel, Renewables, Gas/Oil, Electricity Networks), including development of methods for alternatives assessment & cumulative effects; preparation of revised AoS Reports.
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL(SA) & STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (SEA)
SOUTH HAMS LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
South Hams District Council
Retained by the Council since 2004 to carry out SA/SEA of South Hams Local Development Framework to submission stages and provide support at Examination.
Cited as best practice SEA by RSPB www.rspb.org.uk/Images/seareport_tcm9-153343.pdf
Sustainability Threshold Assessment (STA) used for comparative options assessment, including site allocations; close and responsive iterative working with Officers, consultees & communities to integrate STA and SA/SEA wherever efficient and effective; development of STA from SA framework and integrated with participation work by the Prince’s Trust.
Sherford Area Action Plan including urban extension to Plymouth: provision of expert witness & specialist support, representing the Council at EiP of the Sherford AAP where a third party promoter challenged the SEA as a means of promoting another site for development. We successfully supported the Council against this legal challenge to the SEA process; the AAP was found sound by the Inspector.
Cited as Good Practice Case Study in research for Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG)
PROJECT: SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL/STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
HABITATS REGULATIONS ASSESSMENT/APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT of LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORKS
Dartford & Gravesham Borough Councils
SA/SEA of Local Development Frameworks with joint working where effective, including Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) – Appropriate Assessment screening in this historic area within the nationally important Thames Gateway. Integrated scoping methodology to identify commonalities for the Boroughs, to enhance/streamline plan-making and SA/SEA; appraisal of LDF Vision, Objectives and Strategic Options & Preferred Options; SA/SEA of DPDs and AAPs; preparation of SA Reports; Consultation and Participation.
Key Issues: new communities & integration with existing communities; new & affordable housing; creation of Jobs; migration; Infrastructure; Environmental Equity & Green Space; Flood Risk Management; Effective Engagement with Local People; Skills & Training.