Consultation on Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Enforcement Policy and Guidance

Closed 31 Oct 2015

Opened 23 Jul 2015


This consultation provides an opportunity for you to give your views on SEPA’s revised enforcement policy and new guidance on enforcement. Stakeholder views are important to us and we would welcome your comments on these important documents.

The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (RR(S) Act) has enabled the Scottish Ministers to give SEPA the power to impose fixed and variable monetary penalties and accept enforcement undertakings (the enforcement measures). The enforcement measures form part of the new environmental enforcement framework for Scotland that will enable more proportionate and flexible enforcement. They will help ensure that we have the right tools to change the behaviour of those who continue to perform poorly or ignore their responsibilities, and will help us tackle non-compliance at an earlier stage before it becomes entrenched.

This framework builds upon the strengths of our existing enforcement approach and working relationship with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). The new environmental enforcement framework has been developed jointly with Scottish Government and in partnership with COPFS.

This consultation covers those elements of the environmental enforcement framework which are required to be produced by SEPA.   We are seeking views in this consultation on:

  • SEPA’s updated enforcement policy;
  • SEPA’s enforcement guidance.

 These documents and a consultation summary document are provided below.

The new environmental enforcement framework is a key aspect of the SEPA and Scottish Government joint Better Environmental Regulation Programme. It will be accompanied by other changes to the way SEPA regulates activities, to increasingly focus our effort where it is most needed. This will result in more effective protection and improvement of the environment and help generate positive outcomes both for communities and the economy. Other aspects of our reform agenda include simplification of our charging scheme to provide more transparency and a more balanced approach to allocating charges.

Why your views matter

SEPA is seeking comments on the proposals from interested parties including regulated customers, trade associations, representative bodies, local authorities and NGOs, as well as members of the public. 

Stakeholder engagement has been essential in shaping the new environmental enforcement framework as part of the wider Better Environmental Regulation agenda. This stakeholder engagement helped to shape the proposals contained in the Order and in this current consultation.  Previous consultations have shown strong support for the underlying aims of SEPA's proposed enforcement approach and the outlined proposals for the new measures.  

We are seeking your views on the enforcement policy and guidance to ensure the new environmental enforcement framework is implemented in a way that ensures proper transparency and accountability.

The information provided in the consultation will allow you to make informed comments on the draft enforcement policy and guidance. Your comments will inform the content of our final documents.

You are encouraged to respond to this consultation by completing the online survey. However, you can also respond by sending your views and comments on the proposals in this paper to the following address:

Wendy Thornton, Regulatory Reform Manager

SEPA, Clearwater House, Heriot Watt Research Park, Avenue North, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP

Or e-mail:

Responses should be submitted to us by 31 October 2015. Earlier responses would be welcome.

If responding by mail or email, please ensure you include a completed Respondent Information Form.

What happens next

Following the close of the consultation, we will take some time to analyse the responses before publishing a summary of them and taking them into account as we develop our approach further.


  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Distilling
  • Hydropower
  • Local Authorities
  • Responsible Authorities
  • Fisheries
  • Industry
  • Landowners/ managers
  • Forestry
  • Aquaculture
  • National Parks
  • SEPA Staff
  • FRM LAG members
  • Team Unit Managers
  • Department Managers
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Science and Strategy


  • Regulated activities
  • Better regulation