Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and Council on Strategic Environmental Assessment or SEA, which entered into force on 21 July 2001, requires Member States to assess the likely significant environmental effects of plans and programmes prior to their adoption, thus providing for the assessment of strategic environmental considerations at an early stage of the decision-making process. The Directive requires the carrying out of an environmental assessment of those plans and programmes which are likely to have significant environmental effects and which set the framework for future development consent of projects which are subject to EIA or where an assessment is necessary due to the likely effect on sites governed by the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC). Each Member State had until July 2004 to transpose the Directive into national law. The Directive applies to certain plans/programmes whose preparation or review commences after 21 July 2004. The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government approached the Dublin Docklands Development Authority in June 2002 as it considered the Docklands Area to be an appropriate area to pilot test SEA on a non-statutory basis in tandem with the review of the 1997 Dublin Docklands Area Master Plan. It was anticipated that the experience gained by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority in piloting SEA would provide an input to the proposed guidelines for planning authorities on SEA which the Department intended drawing up as part of the process of the general implementation of the Directive. The carrying out of the SEA proved to be an invaluable learning process for those involved and this paper seeks to share the lessons gained from the experience.