The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will try out some proposed changes to the way it regulates in a few key areas and sectors.

If the changes – which aim to simplify and improve regulation, and reduce bureaucracy – are successful, they could be rolled out more widely.

The pilot scheme follows recommendations from the Regulatory Review Group (RRG) in its Annual Report.

The RRG said the initiative marked a major step forward since it was given the task of holding the Scottish government to account and devising ways of improving regulation for business.

Professor Russel Griggs, chair of the RRG, said: “We are pleased that SEPA has grasped this nettle and taken the initiative to become more flexible and risk-based in what they do.

“RRG and government believe that this will add greatly to the way that SEPA and other regulators operate. Critical to success is business helping SEPA do their job better.

“New legislation needs new ways of working and this pilot project provides an early opportunity to test risk-based and flexible approaches to regulation.

“Everyone has to accept that occasional mistakes will be made, however, and that we won’t necessarily get it right first time.”

SEPA chairman David Sigsworth said the regulator would work in partnership with businesses and government to make the changes.

“The intention is to concentrate the regulatory process on assisting customers to reach good performance standards which comply with regulatory needs.”

SEPA’s scoping paper for the pilot scheme can be viewed here.

Kate Martin

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