Scotland gives watchdog tougher powers to tackle pollution

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has been given more power to tackle pollution, Scottish Environment Minister, Sam Galbraith, has announced.

SEPA will now be able to serve enforcement notices where a condition of pollution consent is being breached, but also before pollution takes place if the Agency believes that a breach of conditions is likely. Where failure to comply with a maintenance programme could led to a future breach of consent conditions, SEPA can use an enforcement notice to require verifiable reinstatement of the maintenance plan.

“I am determined to cut pollution in Scotland’s water environment and these new powers will allow SEPA to be pro-active in dealing with the single most important source of pollution – pollution from sewage effluent,” said Galbraith. “The Scottish Executive is committed to improving our wastewater treatment systems by carrying through a major programme of investment. However, there is no point in investing heavily in public infrastructure only to allow that benefit to be undermined by the flouting of carefully agreed consents. These new powers – backed ultimately by prosecution – will be a key part of our programme to strengthen SEPA’s powers and improve its efforts to protect our water environment.”

The amended regulations also prescribe procedures for appeal against service of an enforcement notice.

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