Development of a Methodology/Framework for generating and evaluating alternative spatial and non-spatial scenarios

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Resource or Project Abstract

Consideration of Alternatives is required by Article 5 of the European SEA Directive, 2001. Alternatives are fundamental to the SEA process as they provide opportunities to identify and explore ways to deliver a plan or programme's objectives while addressing environmental issues. A good practice guide to the development and assessment of alternatives for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was developed for plan/programme-makers and SEA practitioners. This good practice guide presents a synthesis of the consultation process and its outcomes, highlighting the key issues affecting current practice and the principles for an effective and efficient consideration of alternatives as identified and proposed by consultees.


The SEA Alternatives project incorporated systematic and extensive international and national consultation. Key stakeholders, practitioners and academics were consulted during the first phase of the preparation of the SEA Alternatives manual, to gain insight into current Irish practice and best international practice. The consultation process was also used to initiate a national dialogue on what constitutes reasonable, realistic and sustainable alternatives. Further consultation was carried out at final draft stage to gather feedback and ensure that the proposed approaches are best suited to the Irish context.


The following outputs were also generated:


The use of MOLAND planning software in the consideration of alternatives was reviewed and separate guidance on its application was developed.


SEA_Spatial_Information_Sources____March2014.xlsx (Updates to this data inventory Excel sheet will be made primarily to the following website. http://www.epa.ie/monitoringassessment/assessment/sea/ )

Final_Consultation_Report_25_September13 : This report (available both in WORD and PDF formats) presents a synthesis of the consultation process and its outcomes, highlighting the key issues affecting current practice and the principles for an effective and efficient consideration of alternatives as identified and proposed by consultees.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. John Fry
University College Dublin
Environmental Scientist
ESRM (Environment & Sustainable Resource Management), University College Dublin, School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 716 7730
e-mail: john.fry@ucd.ie

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 1    EPARR_157_Fry_MOLANDSEA_prn.pdf   (4.26 Mb)
Att 2    MOLAND_Guide_Document.pdf   (3.96 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Fry, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationDevelopment of a Methodology/Framework for generating and evaluating alternative spatial and non-spatial scenarios
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=59fcdeb3-e031-11e3-b233-005056ae0019
Unique Identifier59fcdeb3-e031-11e3-b233-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-05-27

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Fry, J.   "Development of a Methodology/Framework for generating and evaluating alternative spatial and non-spatial scenarios". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=59fcdeb3-e031-11e3-b233-005056ae0019 (Last Accessed: 2017-05-27)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=3051
Resource Keywords Strategic Environmental Assessment, SEA, Alternatives, Effectiveness, Good Practice
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2103-SL-DS-1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeLand-use, Soils, and Transport
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe report and any data or information resources made available on this SAFER-Data resource have been generated by the Irish SIS project. The reliability, quality and completeness of data gained through SAFER-Data is intended to be used in an education or research context. These data are not guaranteed for use in operational or decision-making settings. The EPA and SAFER-Data requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use data/information received with SAFER-Data. This acknowledgement should state the original creators of the data/information. An automated citation is provided below. It is not ethical to publish data/information without proper attribution or co-authorship. The data/information are the intellectual property of the collecting investigator(s). The data/information may be freely downloaded and used by all who respect the restrictions and requirements in the previous paragraphs.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Monday 1st April 2013 (01-04-2013)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st April 2013 (01-04-2013)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 30th April 2014 (30-04-2014)
Published on SAFERTuesday 20th May 2014 (20-05-2014)
Date of Last EditTuesday 10th November 2015 at 14:46:51 (10-11-2015)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 9th November 2015 at 16:25:38 (09-11-2015)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Recommendations on improvement to Irish SEA practice based on a review of national and international best practice. Expert opinion sought on world-wide best practice from members of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA)

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
Project arose as a STRIVE call, with the rationale of improving the identification and evaluation of 'alternatives' during the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans and programmes, as required under EU Directive 2001/42/EU.

The output from the project constitutes a Good Practice Guidance document.
Supplementary Information
Key points

Alternatives are fundamental to the SEA process as they provide opportunities to identify and explore ways to deliver a plan or programme?s objectives while addressing environmental issues.


This guidance provides a good practice approach in the form of a toolkit for SEA practitioners in three stages: (1) identification and development; (2) assessment and comparison; and, (3) selection and reporting of alternatives.

The use of MOLAND planning software in the consideration of alternatives was reviewed and separate guidance on its application was developed.


Findings/Recommendations

Develop alternatives early in the assessment process (e.g. when initiating the drafting of a new sectoral plan or immediately after initial statutory consultation during a land use plan review). Collaborate with the plan/programme proponent in a continuous and close manner to ensure that key SEA concerns are consistently fed into the development and assessment of alternatives, and incorporated into the overall plan/programme development.

Develop alternatives that are realistic (i.e. achieve the plan/programme's objectives), reasonable (i.e. based on socio-economic and environmental evidence), viable (technically and financially feasible) and implementable (realisable within plan/programme timeframe and resources).

Consult with all relevant stakeholders extensively. Adopt a participatory approach to the development and assessment of alternatives, with statutory consultees, stakeholders and, ideally, the public.

In the Environmental Report and the Non-Technical Summary, as well as in the SEA Statement, 'tell the story' of how alternatives were considered in the SEA (in the alternatives section of the respective reports).
Links To Other Related Resources
  http://www.epa.ie/monitoringassessment/assessment/sea/ (Opens in a new window)

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