As required under EU legislation, the Government carried out a number of environmental assessments of the draft National Planning Framework. These included a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), an Appropriate Assessment (AA) in relation to the EU Habitats Directive, and also a Strategic Flood Risk Appraisal (SFRA).
These assessments were taken into consideration in the finalisation of the Framework document and the document complies with the requirements of the Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (the SEA Directive) as implemented in Ireland through the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations (S.I. No. 435 of 2004), as amended, and the Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 436 of 2004), as amended.
The final Framework is accompanied by an SEA Statement, which provides information on the decision‐making process for the National Planning Framework in order to illustrate how decisions were taken and the reasons for choosing the plan or programme, in light of other reasonable alternatives, therefore making the process more transparent.
In so doing, the SEA Statement records how the recommendations of both the Environmental Report and the Natura Impact Statement, as well as the views of the statutory consultees and other submissions received during consultation influenced the preparation of the final plan. The SEA Statement also provides information on the arrangements put in place for monitoring and mitigation.