Union Welcome for SEPA Change Proposals

NFU Scotland has broadly welcomed proposals brought forward by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which aim to create a better framework for environmental regulation. 

The Union has hailed the publication of the SEPA proposals as a significant step in the right direction with the potential to introduce much needed proportionality to environmental regulation by relating enforcement and compliance directly to any risk to the environment.

In responding to the SEPA proposals, Head of Rural Policy, Jonnie Hall said:

“The SEPA proposals are focused on achieving simpler, more integrated, more proportionate, and more effective environmental regulation for Scotland.   That is a refreshing move towards better regulation that chimes with NFU Scotland’s aims of identifying a system that reduces bureaucracy and duplication, whilst protecting and improving the environment at the same time.

“We recognise that SEPA, in the current economic climate, will face major challenges in meeting its environmental remit whilst operating at an overall lower cost.  It will not be easy to deliver on obligations with reduced resources, but it appears that SEPA is prepared to tackle that by examining regulations and implementing them in a more balanced way.

“We hope that will be good news for the farming industry.   Agricultural activities are, by and large, of low environmental risk and compliance issues are best dealt with by information and guidance rather than bureaucracy and fines. 

“In addition, we would like to see implementation of SEPA’s proposals result in the delivery of improvements to existing registration, licensing and charging regimes that better reflect the degree of risk farm businesses present to the environment.  These changes must move environmental regulation and its enforcement away from a catch all ‘belt and braces’ approach that often results in disproportionate penalties and restrictions.  

“If SEPA is successful in its ambition of eliminating unnecessary legislation; improving licensing and inspections; minimising the administration burden in relation to farm businesses and continuing to promote best practice, then the relationship between the farming industry in Scotland and our lead environmental body will be moved to a more practical and pragmatic footing.  We look forward to working with SEPA to achieve that.”  

Notes to Editors

  • A copy of NFU Scotland’s submission to the consultation: “Better Environmental Regulation: SEPA’s Change Proposals’ is available on request.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 33/11

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