Scotland to crack down on environmental crime
Industry and environmental bodies in Scotland have shown support for new proposals to ensure environmental regulations are enforced.
The support can be seen in a recent joint consultation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government published today.
It reveals that 82% of respondents supported the proposals which also aim to simplify environmental regulation and create a more integrated framework for environmental regulation.
During the consultation, views were sought on proposals for new enforcement tools to be made available to SEPA to deal with non-compliance.
SEPA chairman David Sigsworth said: "We want to work with businesses to make it simpler and easier to comply with environmental regulations and adopt good environmental practices, but we won't let wanton lawbreakers undermine legitimate business operations."
"Stakeholders agreed that SEPA should be able to draw on a broader range of enforcement tools and be tougher with those who blatantly disregard their environmental obligations.
"In the future SEPA will have more direct powers to complement our existing enforcement tools and provide new ways to protect the environment."
Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse claimed that protecting the environment and helping business to flourish should go hand in hand.
"There are too many examples of growth being constrained by inconsistency in the regulations and procedures currently in place - and we know that stakeholders can often get frustrated," he said.
He added: "We must ensure there is greater consistency and a more proportionate implementation of environmental regulation - and the new approach outlined in our consultation will do just that.
"Most operators in Scotland comply with and often go beyond the necessary environmental regulations. 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."