SEPA launches consultation on new framework to streamline environmental regulation

As part of continuing efforts to modernise and improve environmental regulation, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is seeking views on the type of authorisation required for regulated activities in Scotland.

SEPA has launched a consultation proposing changes to the way environmental activities are regulated, in line with a new Integrated Authorisation Framework established by the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (EASR 2018).

The framework brings together the authorisation, procedural and enforcement arrangements for SEPA’s four main regulatory regimes: water, waste management, radioactive substances and industrial activities, formerly known as pollution, prevention and control (PPC).

Lin Bunten, Chief Officer at SEPA, said:

“This consultation aims to establish the type of authorisation we will apply to particular activities that will be regulated under EASR 2018.”

“We want to enable outcome-focussed regulation that protects the environment and communities from harm, and is cost effective for people and businesses, while ensuring that those we regulate are properly informed and engaged in decision-making.

“The Integrated Authorisation Framework significantly simplifies the regulatory landscape to deliver a more risk-based, proportionate system of environmental regulation.”

In December 2023, the Scottish Government launched a consultation proposing the extension of EASR 2018 to waste, water, and industrial activities following the successful integration of radioactive substances.

Now, SEPA is consulting on how they will implement the framework to streamline and simplify the regulation of these activities, with proposals outlining the type of authorisation that would apply.

Where necessary, SEPA provides an explanation on why an activity requires the type of authorisation proposed and indicate where a change in the regulatory approach is likely to result in a change to the current charging structure.

The consultation marks an important milestone in the Better Environmental Regulation Programme, developed together with the Scottish Government to produce a streamlined, standardised system for environmental regulation.

Lin Bunten added:

“Whether you run a business undertaking operations regulated by SEPA, represent a public sector partner, or are interested in the environment, we want to hear from you.

“Your views will help us develop an effective framework that provides consistency, streamlines processes and defines regulatory procedures for both SEPA and operators.”





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