Consultation on Proposals for a New Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Regulatory Charging Scheme

Closed 24 Sep 2015

Opened 26 Jun 2015


This consutation provides an opportunity for you to give your views on SEPA’s proposed new charging scheme. Stakeholder views are important to us and we would welcome your comments on this important issue. Your input will influence how we develop the scheme before submitting it to Scottish Ministers.


SEPA is obliged to recover from operators the costs to SEPA of regulating the activities for which the operator is responsible. We propose to replace five existing schemes – covering 90% of our chargeable income - with a single system which prioritises our efforts to areas of activities that have potential to cause most harm and where poor practice is more likely. Our aim is not to increase the annual charges income, but rather to provide more transparency and a more balanced approach to allocating those charges.


We have been working on the new scheme, holding stakeholder workshops and briefings, for the past two years. Details of our work and workshop outputs are on our website on the charging schemes page at charging schemes development. If our proposals are supported, we plan to bring the new charging scheme into effect on 1 April 2016.


Reform of charging is a key aspect of the SEPA and Scottish Government joint Better Environmental Regulation Programme. It will be accompanied by changes in the way SEPA regulates activities. As stated, we will 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 dealing more effectively with illegal operators, such as those involved in in waste crime, helping to deliver a level playing field for legitimate operators in which environmental crime does not pay.


We are also committed to pursuing simpler, clearer and more joined-up application processes, with support and guidance, to help save time and money.


We believe that we have developed an appropriate charging scheme for a modern environment protection agency. Charges will decrease if you reduce the scale of your potential impact on the environment and charges will increase if you grow the scale of your activity, and the risk of greater environmental impact, or if you fail to comply with your license. SEPA is legally obliged to recover the costs of its regulatory work, and we believe our proposals represent a better and fairer way of doing this.


Why your views matter

SEPA is seeking comments on the proposals from interested parties including charge payers, trade associations, representative bodies, local authorities and NGOs, as well as members of the public. These proposals are not designed to increase SEPA annual charges income. It is about how these costs are allocated across charge payers, and as a result some individual charges will increase, while others will decrease. The published consultation explains the revised charging principles and the basis on which we will calculate charges in the future. In addition, we are providing current charge payers with access to details of their own current and proposed future charges.


This information will allow you to make informed comments on the principles and impacts of the proposals. Your comments will inform our final submission on these proposals to Scottish Ministers.


The Consultation closes on 17 September, however late responses will be accepted until 24 September 2015.



Upcoming Consultations

SEPA has recently launch other consultations relevant to our stakeholders. These include:

  1. proposed improvements to our Compliance Assessment Scheme. We want to make the scheme fairer, more consistent and proportionate.  This builds on internal and external feedback to date on the existing scheme which was said to focus too heavily on minor non-compliances.  The consultation enables charge payers to see how compliance under the improved Compliance Assessment Scheme would link to the new Compliance Factors in the proposed regulatory charging scheme.
  2. proposed formal SEPA guidance and an updated SEPA enforcement policy that will support use of the new enforcement tools enabled by the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.  These act as important safeguards for SEPA use of the new enforcement powers.

These are available via the Consultation pages on the SEPA website.



  • 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
  • SEPA charges
  • Better regulation