Re-examining the rationale for Strategic Assessment: an evaluation of purpose in two systems

Samuel Hayes, Adam Barker, Carys Jones

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Strategic forms of impact assessment have seen increased application around the world since their conception. Expansion has produced considerable variation and this range of tools and processes can create practitioner confusion and blurred boundaries in practice. This research draws on empirical data from England and Scotland to examine different systems to understand how the purposes of strategic assessment are framed and to consider how purposes are translated into practice. Four key purposes of strategic assessment are examined; overcoming EIA shortcomings, strategic thinking, representation of the environment and consideration of sustainability. It is concluded that various scales (international, national, local and individual) influence how strategic assessment purpose is framed. We find that as multiple purposes come together they interact, with regulatory compliance potentially dominating. Strategic assessment is also found to be described as information provider, and excluded or distant from strategic thinking as part of plan formulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1750020
JournalJournal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management
Issue number4
Early online date26 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2017


  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Sustainability appraisal
  • Sustainability Assessment
  • impact assessment
  • Sustainability
  • sustainable development


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