Section 9 – Screening: procedure
29.For plans and programmes that are subject to the formal screening procedure, section 9 provides that a Responsible Authority submit to the Consultation Authorities a summary of its views as to whether a particular plan or programme is likely to have significant environmental effects. The summary should be prepared with reference to section 8(3) which requires the Responsible Authority to have reached its view by applying the schedule 2 criteria for determining the likely significance of effects on the environment.
30.Section 9(3) provides that the Consultation Authorities shall respond to formal screening submissions within 28 days offering their views as to whether the plan or programme is likely to have significant environmental effects. Where agreement is reached between the Responsible Authority and Consultation Authorities then the Responsible Authority should make a determination accordingly. Section 9(6) and (7) make provision for any disagreements to be referred to the Scottish Ministers to make a final determination as to whether the plan or programme is likely to have a significant environmental effect.
31.The intention behind the screening provisions is to ensure that due and transparent consideration is given to whether an environmental assessment is required. Moreover, they are designed to ensure that the Act environmental assessment requirements are targeted effectively at plans and programmes that are likely to have significant environmental effects.