Consultation on proposals for an integrated authorisation framework

Consultation on proposals for integrating Scottish Environment Protection Agency's principle regulatory regimes.

Part 1 - Purpose, contents and consultation information

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 This consultation sets out the policy intent behind the creation of an integrated authorisation framework and seeks stakeholder views on a range of proposals relating to it. The framework has a key role to play in enabling SEPA to deliver its regulatory strategy. This integrated authorisation framework will integrate, as far as the relevant European Directives ("the Directives") allow, the authorisation, procedural and enforcement arrangements relating to water, waste, radioactive substances and pollution prevention and control ("the existing regimes").

1.1.2 The framework will also help SEPA to deliver proportionate, joined up, outcome focussed regulation that significantly simplifies the regulatory landscape and reduces regulatory burden.

1.1.3 This new integrated authorisation framework will be delivered through regulations made under section 18 of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (" RR(S)A"). It will replace existing legislation which currently implements the existing regimes by re-transposing the requirements of a number of Directives.

1.1.4 Stakeholder views at this stage will help with both the development of the regulations and SEPA's implementation. In particular they will help with the development of SEPA guidance, changes to SEPA's procedures and will inform other preparations for the implementation of the integrated authorisation framework.

1.2 Scope of consultation

1.2.1 This consultation seeks stakeholder views on features of the proposed integrated authorisation framework. The proposed features set out in this consultation include:

  • The standardisation, simplification and streamlining of the process for obtaining, modifying, transferring or surrendering an authorisation, replacing the existing regimes with, as far as possible, a common framework;
  • The introduction of simple environmental outcomes;
  • The creation of an integrated approach to public participation in decision-making on the authorisation of regulated activities;
  • An integrated "fit and proper person" ( FPP) test across all regulated activities; and
  • Standardisation of arrangements relating to statutory notices (such as information, enforcement and revocation notices).

1.2.2 However, the regulations will need to provide, where necessary, for more detailed prescriptive provisions or modifications to the common framework to meet European Directive requirements for particular activities. The number of modifications will be minimised but some are unavoidable.

1.2.3 The Directives being re-transposed in whole or in part by the new regulations and the domestic legislation we propose to replace with the new regulations are described in parts 5 to 8.

1.2.4 It is intended that the regulations will also be used to integrate the requirements of two further Directives:

1.2.5 These Directives must be transposed into domestic law by 19 December 2017 and 6 February 2018 respectively. Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals for transposition of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive in Scotland. Technical detail and focussed engagement on detailed proposals for the BSSD will likely be subject to a separate public consultation process prior to the transposition date.

1.3Better Environmental Regulation ( BER) programme

1.3.1 The integrated authorisation framework is a key component of the joint Scottish Government - SEPA BER programme. Through the BER programme, the Scottish Government and SEPA aim to provide a simpler legislative framework so that SEPA can be more transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted in carrying out its regulatory functions.

BER Programme

1.3.2 This will enable SEPA to better identify, and focus most effort on, the most important environmental risks and harms. This will ensure more effective and efficient protection of the environment, reduce the regulatory burden on business and allow regulators to take opportunities to improve the environment. It is vital in promoting sustainable business growth and enabling SEPA to transform the way it approaches and delivers regulation in line with its regulatory strategy.

1.3.3The BER programme is being delivered on a phased basis, and has already delivered a range of tangible outcomes to better protect and improve Scotland's environment such as: a new statutory purpose for SEPA, new enforcement powers for SEPA, a range of new sentencing options for courts and the creation of a new significant environmental harm offence, and a new regulatory charging model. The integrated authorisation framework is the final major project in the programme.

1.3.4 Stakeholder engagement, as part of the wider BER programme, has been essential in developing the framework for environmental regulation that will underpin the regulations. This consultation builds on previous consultations, such as the high level SEPA Environmental Regulation consultation in 2010/11 and the joint Scottish Government - SEPA consultation on Proposals for an Integrated Framework of Environmental Regulation in 2012, both of which showed strong and widespread support for simpler, more risk-based environmental regulation with more integrated permissions and a single consistent regulatory procedure. In particular the proposal in the 2012 consultation to adopt a simplified, proportionate and risk-based approach was supported by 92% of respondents.

1.4 Issues not covered by this consultation

1.4.1 The basis of charging for environmental authorisations is not covered in this consultation. Any charging issues arising from this programme will be considered as part of the first review of SEPA's new charging scheme, scheduled for 2017.

1.4.2 The policy on, and use of, enforcement measures introduced under the Environmental Regulation (Enforcement Measures) (Scotland) Order 2015 (including fixed monetary penalties, variable monetary penalties and enforcement undertakings) and civil penalties is also outside the scope of this consultation.

1.5 What happens next (your input and future consultation)

1.5.1 This is a large consultation document and has been structured to help readers access the information most relevant to them as follows:

Part Title Most relevant to
1. Purpose, contents & consultation information. All.
2. Policy overview. All.
3. Key features of the new framework for authorisation holders. Authorisation holders but also any interested members of the public.
4. Key features of the new framework for the public. All.
5. Pollution prevention and control (this part is in a separate document). PPC permit holders.
6. Waste (this part is in a separate document). Waste management licence or exemption holders, waste carriers, brokers and dealers, and PPC waste activity permit holders.
7. Radioactive substances (this part is in a separate document). RSA authorisation and registration holders and those who carry out activities under Exemption Orders.
8. Water (this part is in a separate document). CAR licence or registration holders and anyone carrying out an activity under CAR general binding rules.

1.5.2 The regime specific parts of the consultation (parts 5 to 8) provide more detail on the proposed changes for each of the existing regimes, and contain information and proposals about how the integrated authorisation framework will be modified to accommodate specific directive requirements which cannot be integrated. Whilst we have used a common overall format for these parts there are differences in the types of information provided and the detailed format. This is because each of the existing regimes has a different history and is starting from a different point. For example, the water regime benefits from being the most up to date having been substantially reformed in 2005, but the waste regime has evolved over decades and currently relies on at least eight different pieces of legislation.

1.5.3 In addition to this formal consultation we will also provide opportunities to speak to us face to face about the proposed changes, including stakeholder events over the consultation period so we can listen to and understand your views and answer any questions. These events are also intended to help you understand the proposed changes and put together your response.

1.5.4 You can respond to the consultation online using the Scottish Government's Consultation Hub on Citizen Space. You do not have to answer all the questions. You can choose to answer only those questions most relevant to you.

1.5.5 You can also respond by sending your views and comments on the proposals in this paper to the following address:

Environmental Quality Division
Scottish Government
Area 1-D North
Victoria Quay
Tel: 0131 244 0205
Fax: 0131 244 0245

1.5.6 Reponses should be made on the attached respondent information form and returned to us by 12 th April 2017. Earlier responses would be welcomed.

1.5.7 We need to know how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are happy for your response to be made public. Please complete and return the respondent information form attached at Annex 1 with your response as this will ensure that we treat your response appropriately.

1.5.8 Further information about the Scottish Government consultation process is available on the Scottish Government website.


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