SEPA looks to the future as Annual Operating Plan sets out priorities for regulation, climate resilience and recovery

  12 May 2022
The plan supports Scotland’s transition to Net Zero and continued adaption to a post-EU policy environment. It prioritises regulatory focus on permitting, compliance checking, tackling non-compliance and illegal activities, environmental monitoring and beyond compliance opportunities.

· SEPA published Annual Operating Plan for 2022-23. 

· Focus on regulation, climate resilience and recovery. 

· Supports Scotland’s transition to Net Zero. 

· Regulatory focus on permitting, compliance checking, tackling non-compliance and illegal activities, environmental monitoring and beyond compliance opportunities. 

· Climate resilience focus on helping Scotland avoid the risk of flooding, protect existing communities and businesses from the effects of climate change, and warn if flooding is imminent so action can be taken to reduce the impact. 

· Supporting Scotland to recover and supporting SEPA’s recovery: building back better, supporting staff, developing new systems, including progressive working practices and committing to become a regenerative organisation by 2030.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is looking to the future as it today (Thursday 12th May 2020) published its Annual Operating Plan. The plan sets out priorities for regulation, climate resilience and recovery and the budget available to deliver our work across the 2022-23 period. The report also sets clear performance measures for delivery. 

The plan supports Scotland’s transition to Net Zero and continued adaption to a post-EU policy environment. It prioritises regulatory focus on permitting, compliance checking, tackling non-compliance and illegal activities, environmental monitoring and beyond compliance opportunities. 

In climate resilience, the plan focused on helping Scotland avoid the risk of flooding, protect existing communities and businesses from the effects of climate change, and warn if flooding is imminent so action can be taken to reduce the impact. 

The plan also supports Scotland's recovery and supports SEPA’s recovery: building back better, supporting staff, developing new systems, including progressive working practices and committing to become a regenerative organisation by 2030. 

The launch of SEPA’s plan reflects the realism of recovery from the COVID pandemic, a serious and significant criminal cyber-attack and a change of leadership within the organisation. Throughout these challenges, the agency has continued to prioritise public service delivery around its two core services of environmental regulation and flooding. 

SEPA is moving regulation from individual sites to a sectoral approach to support this aim and help as many businesses as possible to achieve the environmental, economic and social benefits that come from voluntarily moving beyond compliance and adopting more sustainable business practices.   

Jo Green, Acting Chief Executive of Operations at SEPA, said:  

“Today, as we emerge from the global pandemic, severe impacts of the cyber-attack and recent leadership changes, we’re looking to the future, publishing our clear plan on regulation, climate resilience and recovery. We’ve published our performance measures for delivery and the budget available to deliver our work across the 2022-23 period. 

“The plan recognises both what we’ve achieved and that we still face daily challenges delivering our work. It recognises we can’t do everything at once and makes clear, practical choices to support important public services and our people who deliver them. It focuses on organisational recovery which will strengthen our delivery of important regulation and flooding priorities and it supports transformational change. But more than that, our plan helps Scotland tackle the climate and nature emergencies and supports our transition to a net zero economy.” 

Priorities 2022-23 

Within our two core services – environmental regulation and flooding - we have set out a number of priority commitments by March 2023: 

Regulation  

Policy implementation  

·       Net Zero and just transition  

·       Deposit Return Scheme  

·       Post EU Exit 

Permitting  

·       Land use planning and development  

·       Applications for environmental authorisations  

·       Review and modification of environmental authorisations 

Compliance  

·       Our programme of verification activity  

·       Non-compliance and illegal activities 

·       Environmental event response 

·       Environmental monitoring 

·       Water Environment Fund 

·       Beyond compliance opportunities 

Reform 

·       Key capabilities needed for core compliance work 

·       One Planet Prosperity regulatory services 

Flooding 

·       Help Scotland AVOID the risk of flooding to new communities and businesses 

·       Help PROTECT those existing communities and businesses that are at risk from the effects of climate change 

·       WARN if flooding is imminent so action can be taken to reduce the impact 

Further details about our priority work and what success will look like by March 2023 can be found here.