6% of Scottish sites failing the environment
Nearly all of Scotland's major industrial sites are meeting their environmental responsibilities according to figures published by the country's environmental watchdog this week but a worrying few are still failing to do so.Last year the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) licenced 277 sites under Part A regulations of either the Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes & Substances) Regulations 1991 or the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (PPC).
These are, in a nutshell, facilities deemed to have the largest potential environmental impact and are therefore closely regulated.
Of those sites the vast majority (94%) passed their Operator Performance Assessment (OPA), effectively an audit to ensure they are keeping up their end of the agreement with SEPA which allows them to continue to operate.
17 sites (6%) obtained an unsatisfactory result.
While many of the regulated sites are well-established, almost a third of them were reported on for the first time this year.
The main reason for the surge in the number of sites is SEPA's introduction of food and drink factories and intensive agricultural sites to the regime.
In line with the principles of risk-based regulation, operators receiving an unsatisfactory OPA can expect SEPA to keep a closer eye on them with additional inspections or specific audits.
Those sites which perform well can expect a lighter touch.
SEPA's Audrey Terry said: "SEPA is pleased to see this good level of performance. We will continue to work with the operators to ensure that high environmental standards are maintained."
"The assessments and appraisals are undertaken by SEPA annually. The outcome of the combined evaluation helps to determine regulatory effort, including inspection frequency which is then incorporated into our annual inspection programme."
"It is important that we work with those companies whose performance is less than satisfactory and identify how the management and operation of sites can be improved.
"However SEPA will not shy away from taking appropriate enforcement action in relation to those sites which consistently fail to meet SEPA's standards. In fact it is because SEPA has taken formal enforcement action that some sites have received an unsatisfactory Operator Performance Assessment."
The facilities which received unsatisfactory results are:
The annual OPA results of all inspected facilities, including a brief explanation of why unsatisfactory sites failed to make the grade, can be found on SEPA's website