Changing the chemistry at Scotland's environment protection agency

  22 June 2021
Leaders with ambition to help Scotland achieve net zero and address the climate and biodiversity emergencies have an important window of opportunity to shape the work of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The agency, which is changing to meet the challenges of tomorrow, is seeking applications for two new members of its agency board.

SEPA is Scotland’s principal environmental regulator.  Everyday SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland's environment, helping communities, and businesses thrive within the resources of one planet.  The agency calls this One-Planet Prosperity.  

As a member of SEPA’s Agency Board, applicants can help the organisation tackle local, national and international challenges, ensuring it continues to work with communities, NGOs, businesses and others to make a positive impact on Scotland’s stunning environment. The new members would join SEPA’s board in January 2022.  

SEPA Chairman, Bob Downes, said:  

“With the eyes of the world turning to Scotland, to COP26 and global Net Zero ambitions in November, there has never been a better time to join a future focused and progressive environment protection agency addressing some of the biggest challenges and opportunities of our time. 

“Our role is wide-ranging, including environmental regulation, flood forecasting and warning, helping Scotland mitigate and adapt to climate change, monitoring and reporting on the state of our environment and resolving environmental harms. 

“Being a SEPA Board member is an exciting opportunity at a critical moment for the environment and through our Agency Board recruitment, we want to attract members who have a passion for making a difference for Scotland’s environment and its people.” 

Candidates from diverse backgrounds with varying experiences and skills are being invited to apply for the board appointments, which have become available as two existing candidates come to the end of their time as members. 

Downes continues, “we’re creating a board that reflects the diversity of Scotland and are working with Changing the Chemistry to encourage applications from under-represented communities by sharing information about the role and what to expect from the application process.” 

SEPA currently has 10 Board members, who come from a variety of private, public and voluntary sector backgrounds and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise, as well as passion for environmental issues. 

Applicants don’t have to have an environmental or science background to join the SEPA Board,” Downes says. “We are looking for people with strategic analytical capabilities and experience, skills that could have been developed across a range of business and government sectors, within social enterprises or voluntary positions.” 

SEPA’s board is responsible for the organisation’s overall direction and performance, including its efficiency and effectiveness as a public body. It also enables the agency to deliver its statutory purpose of delivering environmental protection and improvement, while contributing to health and well-being benefits, and sustainable economic growth. 

SEPA’s One Planet Prosperity strategy involves working with businesses to help them meet – and go beyond – environmental compliance, for example by reducing their use of water, carbon-based energy and raw materials and by cutting or designing-out waste. 

Appointments to SEPA’s Board are made by Scottish Ministers and are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland. Appointments are normally for a four-year term with the possibility of a further term, subject to evidence of effective performance and satisfying the skills, knowledge and personal qualities required on the Board at the time of re-appointment. 

As an organisation, SEPA has adapted to operating in a completely new set of circumstances and will continue to make changes to deliver in the most powerful and effective way. 

Following the global health pandemic and a significant and serious criminal cyber-attack, SEPA is focused on building back better. 

Members of the Board will work with the Chair and other board members and contribute effectively to the setting and monitoring of SEPA’s corporate strategy.  

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Board recruitment opportunities can visit the SEPA hub, sepa.org.uk/Board and join an information session hosted by Changing the Chemistry on Monday 28 June at 6pm.