SEPA consultation on new framework to streamline environmental regulation

18 January 2024

As part of continuing efforts to modernise and improve environmental regulation, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is seeking views on the type of authorisation required for regulated activities in Scotland. SEPA has launched a consultation proposing changes to the way environmental activities are regulated, in line with a new Integrated Authorisation Framework established by the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (EASR 2018). The framework brings together the authorisation, procedural and enforcement arrangements for SEPA’s four main regulatory regimes: water, waste management, radioactive substances and industrial activities, formerly known as pollution, prevention and control (PPC).

Lin Bunten, chief officer at SEPA, said: “This consultation aims to establish the type of authorisation we will apply to particular activities that will be regulated under EASR 2018.”

“We want to enable outcome-focused regulation that protects the environment and communities from harm, and is cost effective for people and businesses, while ensuring that those we regulate are properly informed and engaged in decision-making.

“The Integrated Authorisation Framework significantly simplifies the regulatory landscape to deliver a more risk-based, proportionate system of environmental regulation.”

In December 2023, the Scottish Government launched a consultation proposing the extension of EASR 2018 to waste, water, and industrial activities following the successful integration of radioactive substances.

Now, SEPA is consulting on how it will implement the framework to streamline and simplify the regulation of these activities, with proposals outlining the type of authorisation that would apply.

Where necessary, SEPA provides an explanation on why an activity requires the type of authorisation proposed and indicate where a change in the regulatory approach is likely to result in a change to the current charging structure.

The consultation marks an important milestone in the Better Environmental Regulation Programme, developed together with the Scottish Government to produce a streamlined, standardised system for environmental regulation.

Bunten added: “Whether you run a business undertaking operations regulated by SEPA, represent a public sector partner, or are interested in the environment, we want to hear from you.

“Your views will help us develop an effective framework that provides consistency, streamlines processes and defines regulatory procedures for both SEPA and operators.”

Interested stakeholders are also invited to join SEPA at a series of information events hosted together with the Scottish Government, beginning in late February.

Responses must be submitted by 12 April 2024. You can respond to this consultation online*, or by sending an email to If responding by email, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form with your response. If you wish to respond another way, please contact SEPA online or by phone: 03000 99 66 99 and an officer to call you back.

Responses must be submitted before 31 March 2024. Earlier responses are welcomed.  


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