A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is an environmental assessment required under the SEA Directive for “plans and programmes” which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. An SEA often relates to large scale government plans such as roads, water infrastructure and development plans. However, the SEA Directive does not have a list of “plans or programmes” similar to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. As a result of this, the definition of what constitutes “plans or programmes” has been litigated on numerous occasions. In turn, this has led to definitions ultimately being set down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
The 2018 Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities were issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the PDA). The 2018 Guidelines allow An Bord Pleanála (the Board) to grant planning permissions that materially contravene a
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