Strategic environmental assessment : local authority preparedness in Ireland
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The recent transposition of the Directive 2001/42 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment has intensified the interest in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) performance in Ireland. This dissertation studies the relationship between Irish local authorities and the SEA process and, in particular, attempts to ascertain performance gaps in relevant competencies required of Local Authority forward planners. Two surveys were employed; one replicated, in the Irish context, a recent study inquiring into UK local Authority readiness to meet the requirements of the directive at a general level. This inquiry was then enhanced through a second more detailed survey of opinions of Irish LA forward planners on a presented set o f thirty-three (33) SEA competencies with regard to: 1. The perceived level of importance the competency has to SEA quality 2. The perceived level of current preparation for same Arising from an EPA report concerning an Irish Methodology for SEA, these SEA tasks were considered relevant and comprehensive. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to summarise, rank and make probability judgements on the data set. Findings indicate that local authorities consider that they have achieved a moderate level of staff awareness for the requirements of the Directive; however, little to no progress in providing for the requirements of the Directive is indicated in terms of resource identification/allocation, information provision, information use, and in addressing those SEA aspects not covered in traditional EIA.
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