Statutory Guidance on the General Purpose for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and its contribution towards sustainable development

Closed 4 Aug 2014

Opened 12 May 2014

Feedback Updated 5 Dec 2014

We Asked

We sought comments from stakeholders about the draft Statutory Guidance on the General Purpose of SEPA and its contribution towards sustainable development.

You Said

We received 24 responses. Support for the draft guidance and for the approach taken was strong and widespread among stakeholders, with all questions asked attracting at least 70% support. Comments received suggested minor revisions to the draft guidance to enhance clarity and understanding in certain sections. Where permission has been given, responses to the consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/11/5781

We Did

Based on this feedback, we have finalised the draft Statutory Guidance. It was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 11 December 2014. The Statutory Guidance will be issued to SEPA following the conclusion of parliamentary process and pending approval from Scottish Ministers. The consultation analysis report summarises the responses and outlines the Scottish Government's response. It can be found on the Scottish Government website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/12/9630

Results Updated 9 Dec 2014

On 5 May 2014 the Scottish Government published a consultation on their proposals for draft Statutory Guidance on the General Purpose of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and its contribution towards sustainable development.

The objective of this consultation was to consult on the draft Statutory Guidance to be issued by the Scottish Government to SEPA with regard to delivery of their General Purpose. The aim was to invite views on the draft Statutory Guidance.

The General Purpose of SEPA was introduced under section 51 of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and inserted as section 20A to the Environment Act 1995. It formalises what is already current practice; that SEPA's primary purpose is to protect and improve the environment (including managing natural resources in a sustainable way). SEPA must also contribute to improving the health and well-being of people in Scotland and the achievement of sustainable economic growth, except where it would be inconsistent with its primary purpose. Under section 31 of the 1995 Act, SEPA also has a duty to make a contribution towards attaining the objective of achieving sustainable development.

Under section 31(2) of the 1995 Act, the Scottish Government must issue Statutory Guidance to SEPA with respect to SEPA's contribution towards attaining the objective of achieving sustainable development. Under section 31(2A), the Scottish Government may issue Statutory Guidance to SEPA with respect to their duties under section 20A.

The draft Guidance, which was produced in consultation with SEPA, makes clear to SEPA Scottish Ministers' intent regarding their support and encouragement for SEPA's plans to become a better environmental regulator.

What did the consultation cover?

The consultation ran for a period of 12 weeks from 5 May to 28 July 2014. The key proposals upon which views were sought relate to the following areas:

  • The presentation of the draft Guidance in terms of use and comprehension.
  • The approach the draft Guidance takes in seeking to align SEPA's General Purpose with the National Performance Framework, and whether it reflects the wider ambitions of the Scottish Government's public service reform agenda
  • The proposed Ministerial Expectations for SEPA

Overall Response

A total of 24 responses were received, as listed at Annex A. These came from businesses, local authorities, organisations, professional and trade body associations and individuals.

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, these have been placed in the Scottish Government Library and on the Scottish Government website. We have checked all responses where agreement to publish has been given for any potentially defamatory material before logging them in the library. You can make arrangements to view responses by contacting the SG Library on 0131 244 4556, or by sending an email to SGLibrary@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Responses can be copied and sent to you but a charge may be made for this service.

Overall findings

The consultation asked four questions about the proposals. An in-depth analysis has been undertaken of the 24 responses and the summary findings for each question are contained in this document.

The overall response to the consultation indicated support for the draft Statutory Guidance and the outlined proposals regarding its approach and presentation.

The main points raised were in relation to the wording of the sections on SEPA's primary purpose to protect and improve the environment, where stakeholders felt the wording could be improved to enhance clarity. Revisions were also suggested to the outlined Ministerial Expectations.

The Scottish Government welcomes all stakeholder views and will consider all proposed revisions made in producing the final version

Several respondents made points about the Scottish Government's definition of sustainable development and sustainable economic growth, or queried the National Performance Framework. While such views were noted, they were outwith the scope of this consultation, and were not included in this analysis.

Files:

Overview

This consultation invites views on the Statutory Guidance on the General Purpose for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and its contribution towards sustainable development. The draft Statutory Guidance has been developed by the Scottish Government as a result of the new general purpose inserted into the Environment Act 1995 by the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Regulators
  • Local Authorities
  • Public bodies
  • Local Government
  • Businesses and private sector organisations
  • Individuals