Strategic Environmental Assessment in Action – 2004

Publisher: EARTHSCAN, LONDON, 2004, pbk
Pages: 276
ISBN: 1-84407-042-5

What makes this book stand out from other SEA texts is that it presents a mature perspective on the topic, which is well illustrated and demonstrated by many case studies and examples. Serious SEA practitioners should make sure this is on their bookshelves – it is packed with hints, tips, processes and tools, all of which are focused upon doing the job.

The book is split into three parts:-Part 1-Introducing Strategic Environmental Assessment, Part 2 – The SEA Process, and Part 3 – Assuring SEA Quality. The Appendices add value by including the full texts of the EU Directive on SEA and the UN Economic Commission for Europe Protocol on SEA and an excellent summarised set of SEA Prediction and Evaluation techniques.

Part 1 was basically old hat and did not give me much more than I already knew from experience and previous books. The Chapters in Part 2 – setting the context of SEA, describing the environmental baseline, identifying alternatives, predicting evaluating and mitigating impacts and documentation are really the value core of this book and I could not stop reading this section. Part 2’s focus on assuring SEA quality was a very useful perspective on a topic that has not really been adequately covered in the literature so far. There are texts with plenty of THEORETICAL discussions on quality but this book is the best I’ve seen so far which presents the practicalities of quality control, capacity building and post mortems.

I enjoy Therivel’s writing style and this is his first solo book. I hope he writes more – he is one of the most “readable” technical writers I have come across in a long time.

Highly recommended for SEA enthusiasts of all types