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The promotion of environmental enhancement in Strategic Environmental Assessment

McCluskey, D. and Joao, Elsa (2011) The promotion of environmental enhancement in Strategic Environmental Assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 31 (3). pp. 344-351.

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This paper evaluates how the enhancement of positive environmental impacts has been considered and developed in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) reports since the SEA Act in Scotland was introduced in 2005. Fifteen Environmental Reports on strategic actions prepared between 2006 and 2009 were scrutinized for this study, one of which pertained to national policy and the rest to responsible authority programmes, plans or strategies throughout Scotland. A four point scale was developed to evaluate the extent to which environmental enhancement promotion or measures were considered in the Environmental Reports: Thorough, Fair, Minimal and Absent. Results found that nine out of the 15 Environmental Reports studied were graded as ‘minimal’ or ‘absent’. The paper concludes that in order for SEA to achieve its full potential, in addition to considering mitigation measures for negative environmental impacts, SEA practitioners and decision makers must begin to realize and exploit potential enhancement opportunities.