The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government have been working together on a package of measures to take forward our agenda for better environmental regulation. The primary aim of the joint better environmental regulation programme is to deliver benefits for the environment, business, communities and SEPA by enabling a more risk-based, joined up and outcome-based approach to environmental regulation. Engagement with stakeholders has been a key part of developing our approach and is ongoing. This report provides the results of the consultation we launched in May 2012 to integrate and simplify the framework of environmental regulation. This built on a previous SEPA “Better Environmental Regulation” consultation in 2010/2011.
The consultation was open from the 4th May 2012 until the 4th August 2012. It outlined the policy agenda for environmental regulation, specific proposals for legislative change and described in broad terms how SEPA would seek to change its operational delivery. The consultation asked whether or not the overall proposals would provide more effective protection of the environment and human health. It also asked for views on specific proposals for legislative change. This included changes to the structure of environmental legislation in order to create a new, integrated framework for the permissions (licences, permits, rules etc) which SEPA uses to control activities which could harm the environment and changes to the enforcement tools (sanctions such as fines or enforcement undertakings) which SEPA uses to deter non-compliance.
The consultation document asked 13 questions about the proposals. An in-depth analysis has been undertaken of the responses and the summary findings for each question are contained in this report. The overall response to the consultation indicated strong support in principle for the direction of travel towards an integrated permissioning framework, the introduction of more direct and proportionate enforcement tools and a more targeted, risk-based approach to regulation.