Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of policies, plans and programmes (PPPs) is often perceived as the big brother of project environmental impact assessment (EIA). However, ultimately, it is a term which has a range of different meanings and applications that go beyond the scope of EIA. This two-day short course will provide an overview of various interpretations and applications of SEA from various systems. The main aim is to help participants choosing the 'right' SEA approach for a specific PPP situation and to raise an awareness of what SEA may and what it actually is achieving.

This course is suitable for regional and local authority representatives and consultancies working in a regional and local context. Furthermore, students that are enrolled in a relevant degree and also teachers/lecturers of environmental management, planning and assessment would be welcome. The focus is on what is considered best practice internationally, and a wide range of international case studies are presented and discussed.

Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Some basic knowledge of environmental assessment (EIA and SEA)
Language: English
Duration: 2 days (9-10 May)
Price: US$475
Min/Max: 10-20

Thomas B Fischer, PhD FIEMA, Professor, University of Liverpool (United Kingdom)

Thomas B Fischer, PhD, FIEMA, is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool. His specialist areas revolve around ex-ante impact assessment tools in spatial, transport, energy, waste and other sectoral policy, plan, programme and project decision making, in particular strategic environmental assessment (SEA). He has worked in consultancy, public administration and academia on SEA, sustainability appraisal, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other environmental planning and management tools for 25 years. Thomas is one of the most widely published author on SEA globally with over 60 papers in refereed academic journals, several books and numerous book chapters on the topic. He is editor of the 'Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management' and editorial board member of the journals 'EIA review', and 'Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal'. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (FIEMA) and has been Visiting Professor at the SEA Centre of Nankai University, China from 2008-2010 and at Sao Paulo University, Brazil in 2011. Thomas served as a reviewer of the CBD biodiversity in SEA guidelines and was a member of the UN Environment Programme Working Group on Integrated Assessment (2003-5) as well as an Editorial Board member for the 'Report on Integrated Land Use Planning, Transport and Environmental Policy-Making' of the Dutch Ministry of Transport (2003).  Between 2009 and 2010, Thomas was a Professional Member of the 'NHS National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Public Health Programme Development Group for the NICE guidance on Spatial Planning'. He currently chairs of the Ireland-UK branch of the International Association for Impact Assessment and is a member of IEMA's EIA quality mark expert review team.

Thomas has extensive teaching a training experience which spans nearly 20 years. He has conducted numerous consultancy and research projects on SEA, amongst which:

  • 'Environmental assessment and disaster events' (JSPS/ESRC collaborative seminars with University of Technology Tokyo, 5/2012-5/2013).
  • 'Development of a Territorial Impact Assessment (TIA) framework for the EC and national as well as regional/local policies and plans in EU member states' (EC ESPON project with Universities of Porto, Ljubljana and Delft, 11/2010 – 5/2012, PI)
  •  'Developing the learning potential of appraisal in spatial planning' (ESRC, 2007- 2008)
  • 'Towards an improved governance? Differences in perceptions of effective SEA application in the UK and China' (British Academy, 2006-2007)
  • 'The consideration of health in SEA (WHO, April to June 2009)
  • 'Review of SEA in transport, territorial planning, energy, and industry in the UK (with Ramboll, 4-6 2007)

Important SEA publications include:

  • Fischer, T.B.; Jha-Thakur, U. and Hayes, S. 2015. Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment Research in the UK, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 17(1): 1550016 (12 pages).
  • Phylip-Jones, J. and Fischer, T.B. 2015 Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Wind Energy Planning: Lessons from the United Kingdom and Germany, Environmental Impact Assessment Review 50: 202-212.
  • Tajima, R.; Gore, T. and Fischer, T. B. 2014. Policy integration between Environmental Assessment and Disaster Management, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 16(3): 450028.
  • Tajima, R. and Fischer, T. B. 2013. Should different impact assessment instruments be integrated? Evidence from English spatial planning, EIA Review, 41 (July): 29-37.
  • Fischer, T. B. and Onyango, V. 2012. SEA related research projects and journal articles: an overview of the past 20 years, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30(4): 253-263.
  • Fischer, T. B.; Matuzzi, M. And Nowacki, J. 2010. The consideration of health in SEA, EIA review; 30(3): 200-210.
  • Fischer, T. B. 2010. Reviewing the quality of strategic environmental assessment reports for English spatial plan core strategies, EIA Review, 30(1): 62-69.
  • Fischer, T.B. 2006. SEA and transport planning: towards a generic framework for evaluating practice and developing guidance, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 24 (3): 183-197.
  • Fischer, T.B. and Gazzola, P. 2006. SEA good practice elements and performance criteria – equally valid in all countries? – the case of Italy, EIA Review 26(4): 396-409.
  • Morrison-Saunders, A. und Fischer, T.B. 2006. What is wrong with EIA and SEA anyway? - A Sceptic's Perspective on Sustainability Assessment, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management 8(1): 19-39.
  • Fischer, T.B. 2003. Strategic environmental assessment in post-modern times, EIA review, 23(2): 155-170.Fischer, T.B. 2002. Strategic Environmental Assessment in Transport and Land-use Planning, Earthscan, London.
Fischer, T.B. 1999. Benefits from SEA application - a comparative review of North West England, Noord-Holland and EVR Brandenburg-Berlin, EIA Review, 19(2): 143-173.