Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements (SEARs)
SEARs identify what information needs to be included in the environmental impact statement (EIS). A request for SEARs must be made for all State significant infrastructure (SSI) projects.
How to submit a request for SEARs
To obtain SEARs an SSI application and scoping report must be lodged on the NSW planning portal.
A scoping report may not be required in exceptional circumstances. For example, where a project is required to respond to emergencies or natural hazards.
The scoping report must:
- include a simple but accurate description of the project
- identify the relevant strategic and statutory context
- summarise the findings of any early community engagement and describe the engagement that will be carried out during the preparation of the EIS
- identify matters the require further assessment in the EIS and how they will be assessed
More information on preparing a scoping can be found in the department’s State Significant Infrastructure Guidelines- Preparing a Scoping Report (Appendix A).
Preparation of SEARs
The department will publish the scoping report online and seek advice from key government agencies, including relevant councils, during the preparation of the SEARs. The department may also visit the site and surrounds.
The SEARs will be published online within 28 days of the application being lodged.
The Planning Secretary may revise the SEARs at any time.
The SEARs will expire if the EIS is not submitted to the department within two years of the SEARs being issued. At the request of the proponent, the Planning Secretary may extend the SEARs expiry date by up to two years.