Environmental assessment is a procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before the decisions are made.
Environmental assessment can be undertaken for individual projects, such as a motorways, airports, dams or wind-farm development or for public plans, known as 'Strategic Environmental Assessment'.
The common principle of both directives is to ensure that plans, programmes and projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are made subject to an environmental assessment, prior to their approval or authorisation.
Consultation with the public is a key feature of environmental assessment procedures, thereby strengthening the quality of the decision making process.
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