The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in 2001, entered into force on 21st July 2004.
This Directive asks for public authorities at national and local levels to carry out an environmental assessment of plans and programmes, including transport projects, which are likely to have a significant impact on the environment.
This assessment must be carried out at the planning process and be presented in an environmental report available to the public.
Amongst the effects to be covered in the assessment are those on biodiversity, fauna and flora, soil and water, climatic factors, landscape and on human health.
The SEA Directive enables everybody to express their opinion on the environmental report and on the draft plan or programme.
Both the environmental report and the outcome of the public consultation must be taken into account when the plans are decided upon.