Environmental principles and governance after Brexit: responses to consultation

An analysis report on responses recieved as part of the Consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance in Scoltand, which ran from the 16 February to 11 May 2019.

Appendix 8: Chapter 3, Q6


Comments on transparency are listed below.

  • Call for a review of NDPB's to ensure accountability and transparency
  • For the introduction of fines for those who fail to notify a pollution incident immediately
  • Clarity as to which body would now be responsible for scrutiny.


References to resources, costs and efficiency are listed below.

  • That requirements could be aligned with EU requirements but with consideration of budget constraints
  • The review should consider the cost of maintaining historical data and how new technologies for data collection could create cost efficiency
  • Reference to reports that discuss the importance of investing in monitoring and evaluation, and that currently budgets for monitoring are often less than recommended.

Upholding existing reporting and monitoring requirements

In relation to upholding existing monitoring and reporting requirements, there were several comments:

  • a suggestion that the Scottish SEA legislation should be maintained;
  • reiteration of a response to an earlier question, urging the SG to continue membership with the EEA and therefore that requirements should be aligned with EU requirements; and
  • for current statutory requirement to be maintained, to ensure integrated social and environmental assessments of the natural environment, identifying priorities, legislation failings and to ensure integrity of research.

Data interpreting and reporting

Comments in relation to data interpreting and reporting are listed below.

  • A list of the following issues to review: '1) Arrangements for the collection and publication of Scottish data. 2) Arrangements for the association of Scottish data with UK information. 3) Input of Scottish and UK data into the European Environment Agency (EEA). 4) Access to Europe-wide data through the EEA. 5) Any new developments (see consultation paper (CP), paragraph 58).'
  • For the review to consider where data results are reported, the outcomes of reporting and what the data is then used for while identifying irregularities due to a loss of engagement with the EU
  • A suggestion this loss of engagement provides an opportunity to clarify data requirements
  • A discussion that the review should consider linkages between environmental principles and other legislative areas
  • For the review to cover the value of the data in relation to impact
  • The review should assess how datasets are reported on and whether they are representative of trends
  • The possibility of voluntarily reporting on data to the EU post exit
  • The review should cover how the data is presented
  • Data gaps.

Discussion of data gaps included the comments below.

  • Clarity about commitments to data collection before a full review takes place
  • To clarify the types of data in terms of environmental performance, regulatory policy, implementation and compliance with EU law in the review and whether any of these overlap with data reported for other purposes
  • The review to cover real time data and provided a list of examples of this that have been signposted to the SG for consideration
  • Discussion the current lack of ecosystem data.

Evidence to inform the review

Comments on evidence that should inform the review included:

  • the creation of a forum of experts;
  • the breadth of information and datasets already gathered by NDPB's to be considered in reference to the purpose and use of the information; and
  • a general comment suggesting information to inform assessments on progress against agreed outcomes and activities in environmental policies should be considered.

Alignment with other monitoring frameworks

Onerespondent discussed the need for the review to comply with international sustainability targets.

Issues with current reporting and monitoring

Issues with current reporting and monitoring included:

  • a discussion of specific environmental areas, such as aquaculture and that the current system of regulation does not work;
  • concern about the risk of pursuing only one stream of monitoring;
  • a suggestion that the review should consider taking a more holistic approach to monitoring and reporting than currently exists;
  • dissatisfaction with the current arrangements concerning construction; and
  • an observation that aspects of the EU reporting can be restrictive, and inconsistent with taking a more systemic and dynamic approach to managing the environment.

Data quality

Reflections on data quality included:

  • that the level of detail in reporting alongside the frequency and outcomes could influence and impact data quality;
  • data quality as an issue with current reporting and monitoring, explaining that the review should assess the extent of the issue and examples of inaccurate data; and
  • the role of the EEA in assessing data quality, and that the SG should consider this an issue in the review.

Data sharing

Specific comments on data sharing are listed below.

  • For the review to consider what level of expert knowledge and advice will be shared with the SG after a loss of engagement
  • A general comment about covering data sharing for underpinning data cross-nationally.


Comments that did not align with the previous themes are listed here.

  • Concern that the proposal in the consultation document that suggests any new scrutiny arrangements should cover climate change - and belief that impacts of climate change are different to environmental impacts
  • A request for clarity about how the UK Government and SG will continue adhering to soft laws and guidance post EU exit.

Specific issues to include in the review

  • A list of three issues to include in the review: '1) clarification of the reporting and monitoring in land ownership 2) a concern that planning applications should be required to have an Environmental Impact Statement through an independent audit resulting in positive environmental impacts 3) clarifications of the key role of communities in reporting and monitoring.'
  • Three points to review '1) Development and mitigation for wildlife 2) Freshwater and marine water quality 3) Pesticide use and prevalence in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.'
  • Two issues to include in the review: '1) commitment to non-regression from the SG 2) specific commitments on general principles and substantive revisions.'
  • A range of areas for the review to cover; 'biodiversity, protected areas, invasive non-native species, air and water quality, waste management and environmental assessment.'
  • A detailed list of areas to include in the review: '1) distribution, trend and condition status of marine species and habitats; 2) the effectiveness of monitoring activities for informing marine planning and the roll out of marine industries and informing more sustainable fishing practices in Scottish waters; 3) wider surveillance to pick up wider threats to the marine environment, to better understand the impacts of natural effects in relation to human induced impacts; 4) long term funding arrangements for surveillance, monitoring, assessment processes and reporting with a robust system of early warning indicators (biological, chemical and physical); 5) aggregation and disaggregation of data at different spatial scales; especially to inform management measures in marine protected areas, marine spatial planning and impact assessments of activities and developments in the marine environment; 6) mechanisms and partnerships that exist for interpreting and communicating environmental data and information to a wider public audience (the science-communication or knowledge transfer interfaces).'
  • Two themes: '1) monitoring sites to avoid pollution 2) SG agencies taking independents samples and carrying out independent monitoring of those.'
  • A list: 'Biodiversity: species abundance/distribution, etc; Representativeness, condition and connectivity of protected areas; INNS; Air, water, marine quality standards, etc; Waste; Chemicals; Procedural comparisons: e.g. SEA, EIA, access to justice, etc.'
  • For the review to include: 'digital innovation, inclusivity in terms of socio-economic factors, collaboration between agencies, meaningful reporting and monitoring.'
  • Other suggested topics included those listed below.
    • Water, waste and flood risk management and ecological status
    • Monitoring of the marine and coastal environment
    • The historic environment
    • Illegal disturbance of cetaceans by ADD's and illegal scallop dredging
    • Climate change, biodiversity, pollution, environmental degradation
    • Carbon capture, state of biodiversity, marine environment, land use and soil erosion, air pollution, waste reduction and waste management, flooding
    • environmental degradation, water quality, air pollution, habitat destruction, species population numbers of common as well as endangered species of plants and animals
    • fisheries and agriculture
    • protection and enforcement
    • ecosystem restoration.


Email: fiona.eddy@gov.scot

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