2. General Discussion
In the course of its regulatory activities SEPA must aim to protect and improve the environment; and in determining how, and to what extent this should be done, it must take account of the social, economic and environmental interests of others who depend on the quality of that environment for their livelihood or health and well-being.
We expect that SEPA will make the vast majority of regulatory decisions, taking due account of relevant third party interests. However, there may be some circumstances where third parties raise significant concerns about a regulatory decision because of its potential impacts on their interests. In these cases it may be more appropriate for Scottish Ministers to determine the relevant application. It is for this reason that Ministers have the power under paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 of EAR 2018 to "call in" any application for authorisation, variation or surrender for their own determination; although we expect its use to be limited to a minority of cases.
The process set out in this paper is intended to refer to any representations made by third parties only. Third parties include other operators, local communities, public authorities and those having an interest in the environment generally, such as NGOs. Any concerns from operators about SEPA's regulatory decisions should be taken forward through the appeals process set out in schedule 4 of EAR 2018.
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