Consultation on the new SEPA Compliance Assessment Scheme

Closed 10 Nov 2017

Opened 14 Aug 2017

Results Updated 15 Dec 2017


In total, SEPA received 46 responses to the consultation on the new SEPA Compliance Assessment Scheme. The analysis and conclusions of the consultation responses can be found via the link below.



SEPA routinely assesses the environmental performance of the operators that we regulate.  One of our main duties is to determine how well an operator is complying with their environmental obligations.  We call this process ‘Compliance Assessment’ and we determine this by using rules set out in our Compliance Assessment Scheme.

This consultation provides an opportunity for you to give your views on SEPA’s proposed new Compliance Assessment Scheme.  Stakeholder views are important to us and we would welcome your input to the further development of the scheme.

We consulted on proposals to make improvements in our Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS) in September 2015.  We have published our analysis of the consultation response and our conclusions on how the new scheme should be developed.  

This current consultation builds upon our previous work, providing more details on our proposals for how the scheme would operate.

The key objectives of the review of CAS are listed below:

  • Make CAS simpler.  The existing scheme categorises compliance into six categories using a matrix.  We propose to abolish the matrix and reduce the categories from six to four. There will be one category for “compliance” activities and two categories for activites in non-compliance: “non-compliance” and “major non-compliance”.  There will also be a category of “not assessed” for conditions or permits which have not been assessed in a 12 month period.   
  • Make CAS fairer.  The existing scheme automatically places a permit into the “poor” category if there are more than four minor non-compliances on the same ELC.  The new scheme will only pass a permit into the major non-compliance category where there are major concerns about an operator’s environmental performance.   
  • Make CAS more useful.  The existing scheme only considers compliance with the permit.  We will present CAS data at a range of scales covering: permit, operator and sector.  In the future, we aim to assess compliance with other appropriate environmental obligations (in addition to permit compliance) when reporting against operator and sector compliance. 
  • Make CAS more relevant.  The existing scheme only publishes the results annually.  The new scheme will publish our assessment of compliance on a monthly basis.  This means that there will be a focus on compliance throughout the year.   
  • Strengthen the incentive to improve environmental performance.  The new Scheme will link permit compliance to charges.  The longer a permit is recorded as in non-compliance the higher the charges.

This consultation ran from 14th August to 3rd November 2017, however after of a number of requests we have agreed to accept late submissions up to 10th November 2017.


  • Anyone from any background


  • Bathing waters
  • Water Regulation
  • Diffuse pollution
  • Restoration
  • Fisheries
  • Protected areas
  • Water Quality
  • Water flows and levels
  • Resources
  • Aquaculture
  • SEPA charges
  • Better regulation