The Scottish Government has this month published its proposals for radical reform of environmental regulation in Scotland which will, among other things, move Scottish environmental permitting closer to the position in England and Wales where a broad Environmental Permit has been phased in over the last few years. Protecting the quality of Scotland's environment is seen as essential to the objective of increasing sustainable economic growth and the Scottish Government's proposals are seen as an important contribution to meeting that objective.
Another component of the proposals is that SEPA has to "deliver major change in the way it operates", although the consultation recognises that SEPA has already started to deliver change through its Better Environmental Regulation
Key proposals in the consultation include:
Implementation of the proposals in the consultation would result in significant change to environmental regulation and enforcement in Scotland. While a number of the proposals, such as the single procedures, joined-up permissions and accredited permits, are likely to be welcomed by operators, the proposals are not likely to be without controversy.
Operators may be concerned that the use of guidance to determine the level of control to be applied to an activity or site will lead to less certainty, transparency and consistency, however, greater flexibility may be welcomed.
The consultation can be accessed here
and consultation responses must be submitted by 4 August 2012.