Appendix 14: Chapter 5, Q12
Discussions around the governance / enforcement gap
In relation to these discussions one respondent noted that enforcement powers are necessary to complement a complaints process.
Lowering / weakening of environmental standards.
One respondent commented that failure to enforce standards is already an issue, and that this will worsen further if another layer of enforcement is removed.
There was a general comment on the value of the Scottish landscape and seabed, implying that this will be damaged.
Other negative impacts
Singular comments which discussed negative impacts included that environmental criminal activity will increase, that there will be more unreported incidents of pollution, the potential for difficulties for businesses if the regulatory environment is no longer clear and that there is a risk that Scotland will not meet its ambition to be a leader in environmental governance.
Impact of fines
One respondent commented that financial penalties could have negative consequences by acting as a barrier to remedial action (at a time of limited resource).
There was a general comment about enforcement requiring greater resource and that resource will be reduced.
Other comments that did not fit the themes for this question or align with the other responses are summarised below.
- Of those who indicated there would be a negative impact and gave a detailed response, one stated that Scotland needs to emphasise that environmental harms are unacceptable and protection comes before development, and one made a general point that, in spite of the small number of EU enforcement actions, there needs to be greater resourcing of enforcement being carried out across Scotland.
- Other specific comments including one discussion of the experience of the fishing industry in Chile, the perception of the damage being caused by the fishing industry in Scotland, the use of the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act (in relation to the potential remit of the OEP), the availability of more environmentally friendly technology which is not used due to greater expense and air quality targets not being met.