Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Manual Environmental Protection Department H. M. Wong 18 June 2005
Objectives of SEA Manual • To provide government officials, decision makers and professionals with a set of systematic, user-friendly and practical guidance on SEA practice; • To use examples to demonstrate how SEA can contribute proactively to a more sustainable outcomes and preclude major environmental problems; • To illustrate and demonstrate in a step by step manner the techniques and principles in the application of an SEA process.
SEA Manual – Table of Content Part I What is SEA Part II SEA Mechanisms in Hong Kong Part III How to Conduct SEA Part IV Worldwide Experience & Trend
Why is SEA Important ? • Facilitate the search of sustainable development options; • Provide environmental information at the earliest stage of PPP formulation; • Inform decision makers and the public about the environmental and sustainability implications of PPPs; • Test out alternatives at a policy level before proceeding with site specific projects; • Steer developments toward environmentally “robust” areas or away from environmentally sensitive areas; and • Address at a high level the cumulative environmental impacts that cannot be addressed by project EIA.
Administrative Requirements for SEA • In 1988, the Government required major landuse/ development plans to be subject to EIA process. • Since 1992, environmental implications arising from the proposals should be stated clearly in all submissions to Executive Council. • Policy Address 1999 requires all Policy Bureaus to carry out Sustainability Impact Assessment for major policy proposals. • Requires “Sustainability Assessment” and “Sustainability Implications” for major proposals since April 2002.
Statutory requirements for certain SEA Schedule 3 of the EIA Ordinance Major Designated Projects Requiring Environmental Impact Assessment Reports 1. Engineering feasibility study of urban development projects with a study area covering more than 20 ha or involving a total population of more than 100,000. 2. Engineering feasibility study of redevelopment projects with a study area covering more than 100,000 existing or new population.
+ major plans/ strategies + Some policies + Strategic follow-up Plans / Programme Types Issues some sustainability issues more sustainability driven EIA issues Trying Out Phase Methodology Development and Building success stories Wider Application Phase to Other sectors 1988 1992 1995/96 1998 2002 Evolution of SEA in Hong Kong
When should SEA be Conducted • To tie in with the Critical Juncture of Decision Making SEA Process in TDSR
Detailed assessment of significant impacts, identification of mitigation needs, Input to cost/benefit analysis (EIA Stage) Detailed Design of Mitigation measures Pre-feasibility Site selection, environmental screening, initial assessment, scoping of significant issues (PER Stage) Feasibility Design and Construction Project concept Implementation of mitigation measures and environmental strategy SEA Implementation Monitoring and evaluation Monitoring and audit Rectify adverse impacts Lessons for future projects Common Applications of SEA How does SEA relate to the Project Life Cycle? Source : “EIA Training and Capacity Building Program for Government Works Departments”
Planning & SEA Project Planning & EIA EIA Implementation Strategic Planning or Sectoral Policy Studies Strategic Environmental Assessment Project Level EIA Scenarios Development Options Assessing Environmental Impact Against Established Criteria Designated Projects Preferred Option Project Planning and Design Developing Detailed Broad Land Use Patterns Technical Prevention & Mitigation Measures Environmental Controls during Construction and Operation Designated Projects Environmental Monitoring & Audit Environmental Controls during Decommissioning Plan Implementation and Local Disposal Development Strategy Sub-regional Plan Statutory Plans Planning Approval Common Applications of SEA Interaction Between Planning, SEA and EIA Source : “EIA Training and Capacity Building Program for Government Works Departments – EIA Training Manual”
Generic Steps of SEA (Steps 1 to 3) Step 1 Continuous and earliest possible interaction with stakeholders and the public Step 2 Re-consideration of objectives in view of environmental implications Step 3
Generic Steps of SEA Step 3: Screening and Scoping Propose of Screening To identify aspects of the PPPs having major and long terms environmental implications to facilitate informed decision and to pre-empt major environmental problems, while balancing the need of efficiency and avoid unnecessary assessments Purpose of Scoping To define the issues to be assessed, to what levels of detail and by what kind of methodologies
Ways of Screening : Checklists Source : The former Planning Environmental and Lands Bureau’s Technical Circular No. 10/98
Generic Steps of SEA (Steps 4 to 6) Preparation Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Final Assessment
Generic Steps of SEA Step 4 : Assemble Relevant Baseline or Background Studies TDSR’s environmental baseline study identified a range of environmental constraints and environmentally sensitive areas and thus protecting these areas free from development
Generic Steps of SEA Step 6 : Identify Possible Options and their Environmental Implications In TDSR, the option of reclaiming Rambler Channel to the east of the Tsing Yi Island was eliminated and excluded for further study after consideration of SEA results.
Generic Steps of SEA (Steps 7 & 8) Initial Assessment Continuous and earliest possible interaction with stakeholders and the public Step 7 Step 8
Strategic Follow-up (SEM&A) Step 8 : Determine follow up action, monitoring requirements • Require future follow-up actions such as environmental issues, mitigation measures and major assumptions. • Example : CTS-3 EM&A • Task group was set up. • Regular update of EM&A findings and results.
Application of SEA Processes to Different Types of PPPs • Sectoral strategies and policies • Transportation strategies and policies • Territorial land use planning
Sectoral strategies and policies • Nature and Scope • Usually for very major infrastructure / facilities ; • Usually high profile and restricted access during the course of SEA ; • Timely environmental inputs are important, especially for alternative sites. • Considerations • Identify “no-go” areas at the onset; • Carry out site search process in stages; • Consider alternative approaches and sites over the territory; • For decisions required within very short-time frame professional judgment based on best available information.
Transportation Strategies and Policies • Nature and Scope • Facilitating a “win-win” strategy/ policy to meet transport (social), environmental, and economic requirements. • Considerations • mode of transport ; • alternatives and needs ; • rail or road ; • alignment options ; • integration with environmental and landuse planning ; • traffic management and control ; • use of advance vehicle technologies; • demand management
Territorial land use planning • Nature and Scope • Population Growth & strategic growth areas • Transport & Other Supporting Infrastructure • Ecologically Important Areas • Spacial and Temporal Cumulative impacts • Considerations • Detailed evaluations at various levels should be carried out. • Environmental & Planning objectives should be fully integrated. • Use best estimates and predictions available. • Undesirable elements should be screened out at each stage. • Adopt different scenario for analysis and comparison. • Analysis should focus on implications of “worst-case” scenarios. • Define mitigation measures & follow-up review
Further actions in hand Existing SEA website will be revamped to be more interactive and user-friendly. SEA website will be further improved, with hyperlinks to other environmental information or other SEA website overseas.