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Scottish environmental regulation proposals welcomed

Zero Waste Scotland has welcomed proposals to revamp the environmental permit regulations in Scotland saying they will help drive waste up the environmental hierarchy.

The body is among organisations which have responded positively to SEPA and the Scottish government’s Consultation on Integrated Framework of Environmental Regulation.

The proposals are aimed at creating a simplified and integrated framework for the regulation of waste, water, industrial pollution and radioactive substances in Scotland.

Zero Waste Scotland said it supported the broad principles of the proposals and that the regulations would enable environmental benefits to be prioritised and help enforcement practices where offences occur.

A spokesperson said: “We also support the opportunity to integrate the existing Pollution Prevention Control regime’s focus on resource efficiency into all aspects of the regime; and the consultation’s indication that a regime would promote the use of mechanisms such as the end of waste criteria in the revised Waste Framework Directive, which will help to drive waste up the hierarchy.”

SITA UK also welcomed the proposals. A statement said: “SEPA have undertaken a refreshing review of environmental regulation in Scotland and now have a valuable opportunity to introduce some positive changes for fair, flexible and clearer permitting for the future.”

Scottish environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said that inconsistent regulation had been constraining growth and that the new proposals would make it easier for sector operators to understand their obligations.

“Most operators in Scotland comply with and often go beyond the necessary environmental regulations,” Wheelhouse said. “Our proposals, which the industry and environmental bodies overwhelmingly support, will help to further unwind complexity for these operators, making it easier for them to understand their obligations while saving them money and helping to create a level playing field.”

Views were also sought on proposals for new enforcement tools to be made available to SEPA to deal with non-compliance.

According to SEPA, 82% of respondents to the consultation, which included industry, non-governmental environment organisations, and public sector partners, agreed that the overall proposals would provide more effective protection of the environment and human health.

However, SEPA and the Scottish Government are also dealing with some concerns raised during the consultation including the route for appeals to enforcement decisions, the need for clarity around the enforcement policy and on implementation of the new framework.

Consultation on the Integrated Framework of Environmental Regulation ran from May to August last year and included 89 responses, which were published at  last month. The proposals will be taken forward through the Better Regulation Bill which is due to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament early this year.

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