Proposals to improve Compliance Assessment Scheme outlined in new SEPA consultation

date04 September 2015

A new consultation has been launched by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) today (4 September, 2015) on proposed improvements to the current Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS), which rates environmental licences at over 10,000 sites across Scotland.

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The consultation forms a vital part of SEPA’s approach to Better Environmental Regulation and aims to build on the strengths of the current scheme by giving the assessment process a greater focus on environmental harm and persistent poor practice by licence holders.    

The proposed changes are the first revisions to take place since CAS was introduced in 2009, when the scheme was developed to streamline regulation across multiple licence regimes.

Under the new proposals, the compliance rating system will be replaced with five bands covering Compliant, Broadly Compliant, Improvement Required, Poor and Very Poor. While all licences under Waste, Pollution Prevention and Control, Radioactive Substances, Water discharges and abstractions will continue to be assessed, the scope of the assessment has been extended to include other regulatory obligations, such as an operator’s Duty of Care.

SEPA Executive Director, Calum MacDonald, said:

The proposals laid out in the consultation are a positive step forward in strengthening our ability to calculate and then enforce compliance across all our environmental licences. The new streamlined system will also help to make compliance data far more accessible and transparent, by publishing updated compliance ratings on the SEPA website”.

“Once in place, these revisions will enable us to clearly target those who are causing direct harm to the environment and ensure that a robust response is put in place to safeguard our natural environment.”

The consultation is open to the public until 12 November, 2015.  Following review of consultation responses, SEPA plans to implement the new scheme on the 1 January, 2016.

For full details on the Compliance Assessment Scheme consultation, visit SEPA’s Consultation page or contact


Notes to editors  

Further information on the current Compliance Assessment Scheme, including previous reports, can be found on our website -