Scottish business environmental compliance over 90% for fifth year in a row in latest data recovered and published by SEPA

  18 February 2022
Scottish business environmental compliance was over 90% for the fifth year in a row in the latest data recovered and published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) after the agency’s December 2020 cyber-attack.
  • Scottish business environmental compliance over 90% for fifth year in a row in latest SEPA data recovered and published by SEPA after cyber-attack.
  • 91% of Scottish regulated business sites were assessed as compliant (‘Excellent’, ‘Good’ or ‘Broadly Compliant’) in 2019.
  • Fifth year in a row where over 75% of all sites rated Excellent.
  • Reflecting SEPA’s regulatory approach during the public health pandemic, a regulatory report for 20/21 will be published in 2022.
  • SEPA will consult widely on a new, publicly accessible compliance assessment approach in 2022 to gather high level views from a range of stakeholders

Scottish business environmental compliance was over 90% for the fifth year in a row in the latest data recovered and published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) after the agency’s December 2020 cyber-attack.

91% of Scottish regulated business sites were assessed as compliant (‘Excellent’, ‘Good’ or ‘Broadly Compliant’) in 2019. 78.2% of Scottish regulated sites (almost 4,000 sites) were rated as excellent – the fifth year where over 75% of all sites were rated as excellent.

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Excellent

4,247

4,030

3,904

3,905

3,848

Good

639

761

619

686

593

Broadly Compliant

61

78

43

43

39

At Risk

142

119

141

156

155

Poor

307

262

272

282

246

Very Poor

74

59

40

51

43

Total assessed

5,470

5,309

5,019

5,123

4,924

Overall performance

90.4%

91.7%

91.0%

90.5%

91.0%

SEPA’s Regulatory Strategy ‘One Planet Prosperity’ is clear – every Scottish business will comply with the law and SEPA will work to ensure as many as possible go even further. SEPA’s Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS) rates an operator’s environmental performance against its licence conditions. The annual results enable SEPA to take a more targeted approach to our regulatory programme of work.

Public Health Pandemic Regulatory Approach

In April 2020, SEPA published its regulatory approach to the public health pandemic. The approach outlined the agency’s approach to regulatory positions, permitting, monitoring, compliance and enforcement across the 33 sectors of the economy SEPA regulates.

Across the pandemic, the Scottish Government designated 13 critical national infrastructure sectors vital to the functioning of society. SEPA committed to supporting that national focus on food security, the provision of clean water and the maintenance of critical infrastructure and the support services on which communities rely.

Whilst impacted by the pandemic and by the December 2020 cyber-attack, the agency will publish a report of its regulatory work covering 20/21 in 2022. 

Consulting on a new, publicly accessible compliance assessment approach

SEPA’s regulatory approach was clear that given public health restrictions during the pandemic, SEPA (in line with UK environment agencies) was unable to operate its formal compliance assessment scheme, but would report separately on regulatory positions, permitting , monitoring, compliance and enforcement. 

SEPA remains committed to a publicly accessible compliance assessment approach and in 2022 will consult widely to gather high level views from a range of stakeholders.

Jo Green, Acting Chief Executive of SEPA, said:

“The environmental compliance of Scottish business really matters, as does the visibility of performance data. That’s why today we’re publishing the latest compliance assessment data recovered following a December 2020 cyber-attack by international serious and organised criminals.

“Whilst draft data was stolen, illegally published on the dark web, and subject to media reporting in October 2021, it’s important we published final data in line with our recovery strategy. Here we’re pleased that for the fifth year in a row, nine out of ten Scottish businesses did the right thing by Scotland’s environment and that over seven out of ten achieved our top billing. 

“Reflecting our regulatory approach during the public health pandemic, a regulatory report for 20/21 will be published in 2022 covering regulatory positions, permitting , monitoring, compliance and enforcement. We know the importance of compliance information and, as part of our recovery from COVID-19 and the significant cyber-attack, we’re committed to consulting on a new, publicly accessible compliance assessment approach in 2022.  When we do, we’ll consult widely, listening to what’s important to communities, the companies we regulate and all those with an interest in the environmental performance of Scottish business. We remain clear that compliance with Scotland’s environmental regulations is non-negotiable, and committed to driving performance and to publicly demonstrating the progress of Scottish business.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The full CAS results can be viewed on SEPA’s website.

Compliance Reporting

  • Total licence numbers: Since 2014, operators in all major regulatory regimes have been included in the Compliance Assessment Scheme. A significant number of lower risk activities are not assessed annually, and inspection frequency varies from once every two to once every five years. As a result the number of licences assessed and reported each year will vary.

  • There can be a discrepancy between the overall figures in our release and totals when added from individual sites on our website. This is because the details of a number of sites we regulate are not published for National Security reasons but are counted in our overall figures.

  • Not all Radioactive Substances Act licences are published online. As well as the compliance data for nuclear and radioactive substances sites published, we also regulate smaller authorised radioactive sources, many of which are used in the offshore oil industry and onshore in industrial processes. These are not published online.

  • Authorisations under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations and permits under the Pollution Prevention & Control (Scotland) Regulations held for National Security sites are also not published.

  • Reflecting SEPA’s regulatory approach during the public health pandemic, a regulatory report for 20/21 will be published in 2022.

  • SEPA will consult widely on a new, publicly accessible compliance assessment approach in 2022.

SEPA

  • 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.  We call this One-Planet Prosperity.

  • We also help Scotland to prepare more powerfully for future increased flooding, as the national flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management authority. www.sepa.org.uk