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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Main issues

Since maritime spatial plans are likely to have significant effects on the environment, they are subject to Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA Directive (2001/42/EC). SEAs are an important tool for integrating environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of ’Plans’ and ‘Programmes’.  They complement the preparation process of Maritime Spatial Plans, providing a mechanism for the strategic consideration of environmental effects, assessment of plan-alternatives and potential development of mitigation measures. They also contribute to the implementation of the Ecosystem-based approach, as it frames the evaluation of effects on species and habitats of conservation importance.

A fundamental aspect of SEA is the environmental report (Art. 5), in which likely significant effects of implementing the plan on the environment are identified, described and evaluated, taking into account the objectives and geographical scope of the plan. Alternatives to the plan can be considered. The environmental report takes into account the following issues:  

  • current knowledge and methods of assessment,
  • the content and level of detail in the MSP, 
  • its stage in the decision-making process, 
  • the extent to which certain matters are more appropriately assessed within a more detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is often required for the licensing of specific projects after a Maritime Spatial Plan has entered into force. 

Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

Draft MSP for the Republic of Latvia

Latvia - MSP

The Latvian MSP is a national level long-term spatial development planning document that shall define the use of the sea, considering a terrestrial part that is functionally interlinked with the sea and co-ordinating interests of various sectors and local governments in use of the sea.
  • Jun 2016