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Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act

The primary purpose of The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act is to further improve the way regulation is developed and applied, creating more favourable business conditions in Scotland and delivering benefits for the environment. It will protect our people and environment, help businesses to flourish and create jobs.

The Scottish Government’s Better Regulation and Better Environmental Regulation programmes are distinctive and important agendas with a number of synergies. As such they were combined,  where legislation was required, into this single Act.

The Act includes the following Enterprise measures, informed by responses to both the Better Regulation and Primary Authority consultations:

  • Powers to make the delivery of regulations more consistent.
  • A duty on regulators to contribute to achieving sustainable economic growth in regulatory activity.
  • A code of practice in relation to the exercise of regulatory functions.
  • Amending requirements for certificates of compliance for mobile food business street trader licence applications.
  • A framework for a primary authority scheme allowing businesses to receive tailored support from local authorities in relation to regulation.

The Act will support SEPA’s transformation programme and improve the way environmental regulations are applied in practice across Scotland. It will introduce:

  • A new integrated framework for environmental regulation, to help simplify procedures for SEPA and businesses.
  • New enforcement tools to allow SEPA and criminal courts to better tackle environmental crime and be tougher with those who disregard their environmental obligations and measures to extend protection against intimidation or physical assaults to SEPA officers.
  • A new statutory purpose for SEPA.

The Act also changes the mechanism for bringing legal challenges to offshore energy decisions and contains provisions to improve the performance of planning authorities by establishing a link between planning fees and performance.


Introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 27 March 2013, the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill was approved on 16 January 2014 and received Royal Assent on 19 February 2014. It was first announced by the First Minister in the Programme for Government in September 2012 (as the Better Regulation Bill), taking forward the 2011 commitment to improve further the way regulation is developed and applied in practice across Scotland.

Background Information

Information on the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill and supporting documentation can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.

Impact Assessments

A number of Impact Assessments were also carried out: