Sector approach to regulation: Consultations on Scotch Whisky, Landfill and Metals Sector Plans

Closed 7 May 2018

Opened 26 Mar 2018


We recognise that as a society, we are over-using our planet’s resources, and if everyone lived as we do in Scotland, we would need three planets to sustain ourselves. In the 21st century, only those businesses, societies and nations which have developed ways to prosper within the planet’s regenerative capacity will thrive.

Scotland’s economy is becoming increasingly resource reliant and there is general acceptance of the need to live within planetary constraints.

All businesses that we regulate use water, energy and raw materials to produce the products and services they provide. In doing so, they also create waste and emissions that can harm the environment. As Scotland’s environmental regulator, we are in a unique position to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment, but also help communities and businesses thrive within the resources available. This is known as One Planet Prosperity.

In the past, our approach to regulation has been grounded in the different set of rules we manage to protect the environment. This has helped us to deliver, for example, improvements in water quality. However, it will not enable us to make the transformational changes needed to tackle today’s problems.

Our sector planning approach is at the heart of delivering one planet living in Scotland, shaping the interactions with every sector we regulate and the businesses in them. Through them, operators will get the relationship with SEPA that their attitude and performance earns.

Those that demonstrate a commitment to good environmental performance and deliver solid outcomes will receive powerful support through guidance and advice. Those that demonstrate behaviour which leads to significant or chronic non-compliance can expect SEPA to use the most appropriate enforcement tools to bring them into compliance.

We are consulting on our first three Sector Plans for the Scotch Whisky, metals and landfill industries from 26 March until 7 May 2018, with the final plans due to be published in June 2018.

Whisky Sector Plan

With a focus on collaborative working, the Whisky Sector Plan aims to drive forward compliance, support innovation and ensure the Scotch Whisky industry benefits from environmental, economic and social success. The plan aims to:

  • ensure all Scotch Whisky producers reach and maintain full compliance with Scotland's environment protection laws;
  • help as many Scotch Whisky producers as possible take action to move beyond compliance in ways that strengthen their business and environmental performance.

Landfill Sector Plan

The Landfill Sector Plan details how we are going to regulate the landfill sector to ensure continued protection and improvement of the environment, and relates to all open and closed landfill sites currently authorised by SEPA. The plan aims to:

  • ensure all landfill operators reach and maintain full compliance with Scotland’s environment protection laws;
  • help as many landfill operators as possible move beyond compliance.

Metals Sector Plan

The Metals Sector Plan sets out how, in partnership with operators and other stakeholders, SEPA seeks to transform performance of the metals sector in Scotland. The plan aims to:

  • ensure businesses are realising the benefits of resource efficiency;
  • ensure waste activities are compliant with regulations;
  • eradicate waste crime;
  • derive maximum value from resources circulating in the economy.

Responses should be submitted to us by 7 May 2018.


  • Distilling
  • Local Authorities
  • Responsible Authorities
  • Industry
  • SEPA Staff
  • Public
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Land


  • Water Regulation
  • Water Quality
  • Resources
  • Regulated activities
  • Better regulation