SEPA compliance figures continue to improve in 2012 report

date29 August 2013

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has today (29 August) published its Compliance Assessment Scheme figures for 2012, which show a further improvement in licence compliance from 2011, taking the percentage of operators achieving a rating of excellent, good or broadly compliant to 89%, an overall increase of 2% across various regulatory regimes.

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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. For the first time under the CAS scheme, sites licensed under the Radioactive Substances Act (RSA) have also been included in the figures for 2012.

The implementation of a risk based assessment system in 2011 allowed SEPA to reduce the inspections frequency of low risk permits in favour of a more targeted approach to inspecting high risk operations and under-performing sites. Due to the introduction of RSA sites in this year's figures, a larger volume of assessments have been carried out in comparison to 2011.

Of the 3,839 licensed activities assessed in this year's scheme, 2,855 (74%) were rated Excellent, 526 (14%) as Good and 40 (1%) as Broadly Compliant. The remaining were classed At Risk (151 or 4%), Poor (220 or 6%) and Very Poor (47 or 1%). Full details and ratings are available online on our website.

Calum MacDonald, SEPA's Executive Director, said:

The results of the 2012 Compliance Assessment Scheme are a good indicator that the level of compliance amongst SEPA licence holders is on the rise. Compliance with the licences we issue is of paramount importance to ensure that Scotland's environment, and human health, are safeguarded against the potential impacts of emissions and pollution.

"The figures published today serve as an important tool in our planning for the year ahead. We hope to build on the improvements this year by actively working with operators to provide advice and guidance, to target specific problems, or take enforcement action where necessary, to improve compliance across the board." 


Notes to Editors

  • SEPA uses a risk assessment system to determine the frequency of inspections. 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.
  • This new system allows SEPA to concentrate its efforts on sites of higher risk and also non-compliant / failing sites. The focus of this approach has moved SEPA from purely identifying non-compliance to also identifying the root-cause of non-compliance to prevent future occurrence.