This paper addresses the problem of “fit” between strategic environmental assessment (SEA) aims and procedures, and the planning context in which SEA is implemented. The paper approaches this problem from a bottom-up perspective, examining existing planning practices, routines and institutions in order to illuminate prospects and barriers for effective SEA implementation.
Using empirical results from studies of regional growth programmes and infrastructure plans in Sweden, the study focuses on SEA follow-up and how it can be integrated in existing planning and programming processes. Environmental follow-up is found to be largely absent from existing planning processes. Analytical, organisational and institutional issues are identified as important explanations for the lack of follow-up. Based on this analysis, the paper offers suggestions on how SEA follow-up can become a more effective part of regional planning.