SEPA planning to go beyond compliance as part of new strategy

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A new strategy has been launched by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) that plans to take its role beyond compliance.

The strategy, One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy, plans to make businesses in Scotland comply to regulation more quickly, but also to help them reduce water, energy and waste.

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn said: “Under this strategy, SEPA will make two key contributions to making Scotland stronger. First, we will more quickly and powerfully get all Scottish businesses meeting the environmental laws in Scotland.

“Second, we will help as many Scottish businesses as possible go even further, helping them find profitable ways to go beyond what the what the law requires in reducing their use of energy, water and materials and the amount of waste they produce.

“By identifying where individual businesses and industry can go beyond compliance, Scotland has a unique opportunity to set the trend on a global scale. There are huge economic incentives for going beyond basic compliance. Especially as pressure on our current resources becomes greater, it will ultimately be businesses that are more sustainable that will continue to thrive, helping to create more lasting and inclusive growth in Scotland.”

SEPA is also planning to develop new regulatory tools that were granted as part of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. This will include a streamlined charging scheme, a suite of new enforcement powers and development of Sustainable Growth Agreements with industry leaders.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanne Cunningham said: “SEPA and the Scottish Government, alongside key stakeholders, are working hard to develop a better environmental regulation programme.

“This aims to maximise environmental protection while ensuring proportionate and consistent regulation and effective enforcement. SEPA’s regulatory strategy is an important part of the implementation of this work.

“It sets out how, as a 21st Century regulator, it is engaging to deliver compliance and maximise contribution to our communities, a dynamic economy and Scotland’s ambitious climate change agenda.”

Part of this new enforcement work will be the introduction of a more proportionate and effective approach, according to SEPA. But it will also start to phase in the practical use of new fixed and variable monetary penalties and enforcement undertakings.