Environmental compliance published for 2015

  10 November 2016
Following the publishing of 2015 Compliance Assessment Scheme results on Thursday, 10 November, a number of minor amendments and corrections have been made to the published data (18 November). The amended data has been updated below and the original figures have been included under "Notes to Editor" for reference.

Scottish environmental licence holders have achieved an overall compliance rating of 90% under the 2015 Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS).

The scheme’s results, published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) today (10 November, 2016), outlines how well permitted operators in Scotland have met the conditions of their licences during 2015 and highlights that over 90% of operators achieved a rating of Excellent, Good or Broadly Compliant.

Introduced in 2009, the scheme helps SEPA to identify sectors where compliance levels require improvement and covers authorisations under Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Part A and Part B permits, Waste Management Licences (WML), Controlled Activity Regulations (CAR) discharges and sites licensed under the Radioactive Substances Act (RSA).

A total of 5470 licensed activities were assessed under the 2015 scheme, of which 4247 (78%) were rated Excellent, 639 (12%) as Good and 61 (1%) as Broadly Compliant. The remaining were classed as At Risk (142 or 3%), Poor (307 or 6%) and Very Poor (74 or 1%).*

The overall compliance target for 2015 was set at 89% and is one of the most stringent compliance targets in Europe.

Terry A’Hearn, SEPA’s Chief Executive, said:                                                                                             

Our new regulatory strategy, One Planet Prosperity, has made clear that all Scottish businesses must meet the compliance levels required in their licences and permits. In fact, we need as many businesses as possible to go beyond the compliance standards if we are to create a vibrant economy suited to the challenges of the 21st century.

“It’s important to acknowledge the efforts of those businesses that have maintained or improved their compliance during 2015 and to our staff who worked hard to help all these businesses with their overall environmental performance. For those who persistently fail to make the standards required, the 2015 figures firmly fix the spotlight on you and every action will be taken to ensure compliance is achieved.”

Compliance assessment is conducted using a risk based approach, which targets high risk operations and under-performing sites more frequently than compliant or low risk operators.

A full list of licences assessed under CAS and the details of compliance is available on the SEPA website and features and interactive map with all operators assessed during 2015. A grading is provided for sites classified as water resources or radioactive substance licences, however further details of their locations and ownership are undisclosed for reasons of national security.  

For further details on the importance of compliance and the 2015 CAS results, please see our article, “Progress towards One Planet Prosperity” on SEPAView.


Notes to editors

  • Full link to the CAS results on the SEPA website - http://apps.sepa.org.uk/compliance/

  • An Erratum to the data has been published on our Statements page and includes details of the amendments made to the original CAS data.
  • For reference, the original figures published on Thursday, 10 November 2016 are as follows:

“A total of 5470 licensed activities were assessed under the 2015 scheme, of which 4246 (78%) were rated Excellent, 637 (12%) as Good and 61 (1%) as Broadly Compliant. The remaining were classed as At Risk (142 or 3%), Poor (310 or 6%) and Very Poor (74 or 1%).”


  • The breakdown of percentages for each compliance band above adds up to 101%, due to each figure being rounded up. The exact breakdown is below:






Broadly   Compliant


At   Risk




Very   Poor


  • SEPA uses a risk assessment system to determine the frequency of inspections. It is designed to plan and target inspections at licenced sites based on the nature of activities (how hazardous they are), the level of risk to the environment, and operator performance and compliance.