SEPA outlines priorities for Scottish environment
Scotland's environmental watchdog has unveiled its plan of action for the coming year as well as a brief analysis of how it thinks it is performing.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published its Annual Operating Plan for the current financial year which outlines its priorities and how the organisation aims to evolve to meet them.
As well as considering the natural environment, the plan considers the current economic environment too, looking at the financial pressures on the public sector and how they might affect SEPA's work.
It sets out four corporate goals - which boil down to protect the environment, ensure a good level of public awareness of SEPA's role and work, play its part in preparing Scotland for climate change and continue to be a 'high performance organisation'.
SEPA's chief executive, Dr Campbell Gemmell, said: "As Scotland's environment watchdog, SEPA has a key role to play in securing a sustainable future for Scotland.
"Many of the mainstays of economic recovery in Scotland depend on the environment. Established industries like tourism, agriculture and the food and drink trade depend on our high quality air, land and water, and there are huge new economic opportunities in the renewable energy and clean technology sectors.
"The environmental risks and issues that need to be tackled in 2010 are more complex now, expectations of the public sector are higher and the economy has changed radically over the last two years.
"There have also been major scientific and technological advances that offer new opportunities for protecting human health and the environment.
"SEPA aims to be smaller, more flexible, more responsive and more innovative, doing a better job at lower cost to taxpayers and charge payers. We will be an effective adviser, delivering excellent environmental information and advice to citizens, businesses and communities, and also promoting good environmental practice.
"As a regulator we will be firm but fair - encouraging and enabling compliance with environmental laws, simplifying where we can and seeking to penalise offenders robustly."