SEPA statement re Court of Session decision

  18 July 2013

SEPA believes in the polluter pays principle, which means that work to prevent damage to the environment should be funded by those whose activities created the risk of pollution. It is also important to make sure that we can achieve the outcomes set by European environmental Directives to make Scotland's Environment the best it can be.

This position was argued by our Senior Counsel in the Court of Session, and the Court was provided with information showing the risks to the environment if sites like the ones in question here can be abandoned.

SEPA sought to challenge the directions sought by the liquidators of The Scottish Coal Company Limited as we believe that they would result in unacceptable risks to the environment, which the costs of dealing with would need to be met through other means.

It is clear from the judgement that the Court recognised the strong public interest in the maintenance of a healthy environment, the remediation of pollution and the protection of biodiversity. This positive recognition of the powerful arguments in support of the protection of Scotland’s environment is very welcome. However, the decision was not in SEPA’s favour and its potential implications are of great concern. Accordingly, SEPA is appealing the decision. It is intended that the appeal will be heard in September.