Strategic environmental assessment

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The Strategic Environmental Assessment (short SUP ) or "Plan Environmental Assessment" (short: Plan-UP ) - misleading and Strategic Environmental Compatibility testing or strategic environmental Compatibility test called - is a method by which the environmental aspects of strategic planning and design be examined by programs.

Typical use cases are regional development plans , master plans , traffic concepts , waste management plans , energy concepts , tourism programs, etc.

The SUP is based on the EC Directive (2001/42 / EC) on the assessment of the environmental impact of certain plans and programs.

Story and goal

The SUP is to be seen in connection with the (project) environmental impact assessment ( EIA ). The EIA was also specified by an EC directive, namely by the EIA directive (85/337 / EEC), which has since been amended several times, most recently by the Public Participation Directive (2003/35 / EC).

The EIA guideline stipulates that the environmental impacts of projects must be determined and checked before they are approved (approval, etc.). But it also only provides that they are to be examined in the process; it does not specify any material standards according to which any effects require a specific reaction (very different from, for example, the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive ). In Germany, the EIA Directive was implemented in particular through the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (UVPG); Implementation in the building code ( BauGB ) took place for the land-use planning .

The EIA only starts at the project (approval) level (= level of the official approval of the individual project, e.g. a chemical factory). However, the locations at which projects with significant environmental impacts can and should be implemented is usually finally determined in one of the planning processes prior to project approval (e.g. urban land use planning , traffic planning ). Since the expected environmental impact of a project depends to a large extent on the location where the individual project is to be implemented (e.g. the impact of a pharmaceutical company in a romantic forest and lake area is certainly different than in an inner-city wasteland near the train station) , and this location decision is already made at the plan level, but not only at the project level, the German legislature decided to do so before the SEA Directive was passed, e.g. B. to subject certain development plans to the EIA because - to put it simply - it is ultimately too late at project level to examine the environmental impact of the proposed projects.

The EC also saw it this way - especially after the Aarhus Convention and the so-called Espoo Convention on Environmental Impacts in a Transboundary Context, Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context ( Espoo , 1991) - the Espoo ( EIA ) Convention who laid the foundations for the introduction of the SUP. Which was preceded by considerations of regional development / land-use planning, the 1981 , the US Housing and Urban Development Department ( HUD ) has placed than 1981, the area-wide impact assessment guide book published.

For this reason, the SEA Directive generally created the framework for examining the environmental impacts that could arise from the planned projects at the level of plans and programs in a "strategically foresighted manner", whereby the effects that were examined at plan level are no longer included the EIA are to be checked (so-called stratification). Conversely, it is also possible to shift the assessment of the environmental impact from the SUP to the EIA (example: a chemical factory is enabled in the development plan, the location is examined in the SUP, the effects of the chemicals used only at the project approval level). This stratification “upwards” and “downwards” is easily possible, because the SEA and EIA have the same aim and are therefore to be regarded as a uniform test.

The EU (then still the European Community ) ordered the SUP through the SUP Directive (2001/42 / EC). Directives are to be implemented by the member states of the Union by issuing their own legal provisions (if necessary also separately for the sectors, e.g. in the area of ​​land use planning). Until 20./21. In July 2004 the directive should be implemented.

Structure of the SUP

The focus of the SEA is on plans and programs, but also on policies, although the latter are not explicitly mentioned in the SEA Directive. The structure is based on that of the EIA, i.e. there are the following phases:

  • Determination of the SUP obligation, if necessary preliminary examination of the individual case (screening); Construction plans are generally subject to a SUP
  • Delimitation of the scope of testing, determination of the level of detail and determination of boundary conditions (scoping)
  • Survey and evaluation of the current situation (environmental condition including existing pollution)
  • Determination and documentation of the (likely significant) environmental impacts in a report (§ 14 g UVPG)
  • Information and, if necessary, consultation of the authorities and the public , opportunity to comment. This also includes the easily understandable summary , which aims to present the plan and its environmental impacts in a text that is understandable for non-experts.
  • Not: decision making. The SEA only has the goal of informing those responsible and the public about the likely consequences of plans and programs for the environment; the decision about the plan itself or about compensation measures is completely subject to the weighing of interests , i.e. the political decision-making process about the plan.
  • Monitoring of the significant effects on the environment after its implementation ( monitoring )

According to the SEA Directive, in addition to the effects on the natural environment, including humans, effects on material values ​​and archaeological sites are also examined.


After the implementation of the SEA Directive was almost completed throughout Europe in 2007, the application and effectiveness was checked by the European Commission in 2009. All member states had introduced an extensive EIA system. However, the improvements needed include issues such as deciding whether to carry out an EIA, which for certain projects is at the discretion of the Member States, or the quality of EIA documents that project promoters have to submit. According to Art. 12 Para. 3 SEA Directive, the EU Commission has to submit an evaluation report on the application and effectiveness of the directive to the European Parliament and the Council every seven years.

In Germany, implementation was carried out on the one hand by the law on the strategic environmental assessment (SUPG), which supplemented the UVPG (law of June 24, 2005; in force since June 29, 2005 - Federal Law Gazette I p. 1746 ), and by the European Law Adaptation Act Construction (EAG Bau), which the SUP for land use planning has integrated into the Building Code (there as the so-called "Environmental Assessment (UP)") (from June 24, 2004; in force since July 20, 2004 - Federal Law Gazette I P. 1359 ).

Web links

In German

to the guidelines:

for German implementation:

to the SUP in Austria:

to other sources of information:

In English

Individual evidence

  1. Directive 2001/42 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 27, 2001 on the assessment of the environmental effects of certain plans and programs ( memento of the original of March 28, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. OJ L 197 of July 21, 2001 p. 30 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. SEA directive of the EU website of the Federal Environment Agency , April 24, 2013
  3. Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the application and effectiveness of the Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Directive 2001/42 / EC) Brussels, 14 September 2009 COM ( 2009) 469
  4. 2. Commission report on the application and effectiveness of the EIA directive - critical tones unmistakable Ökobüro , October 15, 2009