SEPA's new facility pays tribute to 'father of acid rain'

date09 December 2013

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has today (9 December 2013) honoured environmental pioneer Dr Robert Angus Smith with the formal opening of its new flagship facility at Maxim Park, Eurocentral.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, officially opened the Angus Smith Building, which brings together over 400 staff from SEPA's scientific, regulatory and other teams into a single, modern, fit-for-purpose facility.

The building, which houses one of SEPA's two laboratories, will enhance the Agency's more integrated and co-ordinated approach to environmental protection and improvement.

The building has already achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating as a result of various environmentally-friendly features such as the use of photovoltaic cells to provide electricity, and solar panels to pre-heat water for wash-hand basins.

The new facility has been named in honour of Dr Robert Angus Smith, who was born in Glasgow in 1817 and is thought to be the world's first environmental regulator. To pay tribute to Angus Smith, whose work led to the discovery of what became known as 'acid rain', a specially commissioned bust of the environmental pioneer was unveiled at the official opening by the Minister.

SEPA Chief Executive, James Curran, and SEPA Chairman, David Sigsworth, were both in attendance at the formal opening to celebrate the launch of the new facility.

James said:

The Angus Smith Building will enable SEPA staff to adopt a more collaborative and integrated approach to business. Many of our scientists, regulators, IT specialists, communications staff and project managers are all now working together in the same facility for the first time, and able to focus collectively and creatively on what matters most and how we can achieve the multiple benefits which a healthy environment brings.

"Angus Smith was a true pioneer of environmental regulation and protection and we are very pleased to be able to honour him in the naming of this important facility."

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said:

It's fantastic to be invited to officially open SEPA's new Angus Smith Building. Honouring one of Scotland's environmental pioneers, 19th century scientist Dr Robert Angus Smith, this first-class facility will enable SEPA to provide a co-ordinated approach to environmental protection for Scotland.

"I've had the opportunity to meet some of the 400 staff based here at the Angus Smith Building, many of whom are involved in vital national flood risk management assessment and planning, as well as staff who on a daily basis work in the field of regulation - protecting the environment and our communities. My congratulations go to all those involved in successfully bringing forward this project to create a future-proof building for SEPA in central Scotland."