The key points to be learnt from the Assessment section include:
- There is a 'hierarchy' of alternatives: demand reduction, type/process, location, management.
- The public (or their representatives) can suggest useful alternatives.
- An SEA should not include 'fake' alternatives that are not really being considered as part of decision-making.
- An SEA should give reasons for eliminating alternatives from further consideration.
- Impact prediction is 'objective'. Impact evaluation takes the predictions and determines how important they are: this is primarily a subjective exercise.
- An SEA should take particular care with cumulative impacts, since these are generally not covered adequately in project EIA.
- Impact prediction should consider the impact's scale, temporal impacts, probability.
- Impact prediction is uncertain, and uncertainty increases the more strategic, long-term and large-scale the strategic action is. Attempts should be made to reduce this uncertainty where appropriate. However it will not be possible, or even necessarily advantageous, to eliminate uncertainty: SEA should cope with uncertainty.
- Part of impact prediction involves clarifying what is being appraised, and possibly rephrasing the strategic action to make it clearer.
- Impact evaluation should consider who wins and loses: equity issues between groups of people, but also between environmental, social and economic issues.
- Mitigation should be considered for all negative impacts. There is a 'hierarchy' of mitigation measures: avoid - reduce - remediate - compensate.
- Mitigation measures themselves can have impacts.
This is the end of the Assessment section; If you are unsure about anything please revisit the pages, and when you are ready, please move onto the next section.