Businesses show improvement in latest SEPA compliance figures

date03 September 2012

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has today (3 September) published its Compliance Assessment Scheme figures for 2011, showing a slight overall improvement, with 87% of operators, across various regulatory regimes, achieving a licence compliance rating of excellent, good or broadly compliant.

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The Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS) details how well permitted operators in Scotland have met the conditions of their licences and helps SEPA identify problem areas. It covers operators with Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Part A and Part B permits, as well as Waste Management Licenses (WML) and Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR) point source discharges.

The 2011 scheme also saw the implementation of a new risk assessment system to determine inspection frequency. This has reduced the number of inspections for the lowest risk permits, including petrol vapour recovery(petrol stations) and solvent-based operations, such as dry cleaners, meaning that many of these sites will move on to a five year inspection cycle. As the first to adopt this method, the 2011 Compliance Assessment Scheme has rated 2691 sites, as opposed to 4075 in 2010, and has allowed SEPA to target high risk operations and non-performing sites, more intensely.

Of the 2691 licensed activities included in this year's scheme, 1798 (67%) were rated Excellent, 472 (18%) as Good and 59 (2%) as Broadly Compliant. The remaining were classed At Risk (146 or 5%), Poor (170 or 6%) and Very Poor (46 or 2%). Full details and ratings are available online on our website.

Speaking of the latest compliance figures, Calum MacDonald, SEPA's Director of Operations, said:

The 2011 Compliance Assessment Scheme results are very encouraging, showing operator compliance continues to improve year on year, and support our ongoing objective to protect and improve Scotland’s environment.

"This year’s assessment has seen the adoption of a more risk-based approach to regulation which, although it has reduced the overall number of inspections, has resulted in more targeted, effective action against offenders. The approach demonstrates our commitment to delivering better environmental regulation and has proven the benefits of prioritising activity on a risk-assessed basis.

"However, despite this improvement in regulatory efficiency, and a greater proportion of sites achieving satisfactory compliance, the results show that a minority of operators are still not taking their environmental responsibilities seriously. Although we are committed to helping these operators achieve acceptable levels of compliance, we will not tolerate consistent failure at meeting our standards and will not shy away from enforcement action if, or when, necessary."

Ends

Notes to Editors

DREAM (Dynamic Regulatory Environmental Assessment Model) is a new risk assessment system to determine inspection frequency. It is designed to plan and target inspections at licensed sites based on the nature of activities (how hazardous they are), the level of risk to the environment, and operator performance and compliance.

The output of DREAM is fewer, more targeted inspections aligned with better environmental regulation principles. This new system allows SEPA to concentrate its efforts on sites of higher risk and also non-compliant/ failing sites. The focus of DREAM has moved SEPA from purely identifying non-compliance to also identifying the root-cause of non-compliance to prevent future occurrence.