Conveying the key information to support decision-making from an environmental impact assessment (EIA) or strategic environmental assessment (SEA) in an understandable and concise manner is not easy. However, that is what the non-technical summary (NTS) should provide, so that everyone, in particular the lay public, can understand and assess a proposed plan or project and its anticipated environmental consequences. It should be a document that is appealing to read and easily understood by the general public and decision-makers.An NTS (sometimes called the Executive Summary) is obligatory in the great majority of impact assessment systems worldwide. However, this requirement is not always met, or is not adequately met. Reviewing SEA and EIA NTSs over the last decades suggests similar inadequacies: a cut-and-paste approach, few graphics, incoherence in narrative, little indication of how the SEA or EIA con-tributed to the plan or project, no clear key messages for targeted audiences and often not written in “plain language.” Sometimes public complaints were made that NTSs failed to live up their names and were merely publicity brochures for the proponent and regulator.