This consultation sets out proposals for incorporating SEPA’s four main regulatory regimes into an integrated environmental authorisation framework as part of Scottish Government and SEPA’s joint Better Environmental Regulation Programme.
The Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) provide a simplified, streamlined, and standardised common framework for environmental authorisations in Scotland. At present, this framework only applies to the regulation of radioactive substances and we now propose to extend this to the regulation of water, waste, and industrial activities so that the 2018 Regulations become the framework for environmental regulation in Scotland.
This consultation shares the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2024 (the draft Regulations), which will amend the 2018 Regulations in order to bring these three regulatory regimes into the common framework provided by the 2018 Regulations, and a partial Business Regulatory Impact Assessment. Stakeholder views are important to us, and we are seeking your views on the draft text to ensure that the draft Regulations achieve the overall policy intention and objectives which were the subject of previous consultation in 2017. We would particularly welcome your views on the proposed new activities under the common framework provided by the 2018 Regulations, the technical provisions relating to water, waste and industrial activities, and the various amendments to the common procedures and the radioactive substances activities technical provisions. The Regulations are in draft and will require further changes and review prior to finalisation after the consultation. Lastly, we are making a number of small amendments to the framework provided by the 2018 Regulations to correct minor errors and improve the operation of the framework.
Consistent, proportionate, and simplified regulation is an essential component of Scotland's environmental protection framework. It is vital to the promotion of responsible business growth.
The proposed changes to the 2018 Regulations will support delivery of SEPA's statutory purpose, which is to ensure that environmental protection and improvement is conducted in a way that, so long as consistent with that purpose, supports health and wellbeing and sustainable economic growth.
The sustainable use of our environment is important to our economic potential as a nation. Consistent and proportionate regulation plays a vital role in making Scotland an attractive place for doing business. SEPA has set out its approach to regulation and the integrated authorisation framework underpins its work to:
- control pollution
- help Scotland to tackle the climate and nature loss crises
- support environmentally safe and successful organisations and activities
- tackle environmental crime, protecting Scotland’s environment and communities
- support sectors who want to use innovation to go further and to do more than required by environmental regulations
Both the Scottish Government and SEPA wish to make clear that compliance with environmental regulations is the minimum standard expected and is non-negotiable. We want to help encourage, incentivise, and support businesses who want to use innovation to go further and to do more than required by environmental regulations to reduce their environmental impact in a way that builds business benefits. Doing so will not only help businesses to innovate and grow sustainably; it will enable our communities and environment to thrive and our country to prosper.
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