SEPA misses two green targets

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has announced that it has failed to meet some of its environmental targets.

Scotland’s environment agency unveiled its findings in its newly published ‘Sustainable SEPA’ report. SEPA missed two of its six green targets.

It revealed an increase in its greenhouse gas emissions in the past year.  The agency aims to reduce its emissions by 42% by 2020 based on a 2006-2007 baseline. SEPA’s emissions are 10.1% lower than the baseline year but its total emissions of carbon dioxide rose by 2.4% during 2012-2013.

The agency also failed to meet its targets for reducing transport and travel emissions.

However, SEPA achieved four out of six environmental targets for 2012-2013 covering waste, procurement and biodiversity.

Reporting on its internal targets, the agency has achieved the following successes:

  • establishing a baseline of internal waste levels, showing what is currently recycled, composted, reused and sent to landfill in order to allow the setting and measurement of future targets
  • hitting its target to segregate key dry recyclates at source nine months earlier than the Scottish national target
  • achieving a five percent increase in the number of sustainable goods and services procured in line with its sustainability criteria
  • reviewing existing Biodiversity Action Plans already in place with a view to having them implemented at 100 percent of SEPA buildings by 2017.

New targets have been set within the report, for 2013-2014, to reduce emissions levels for travel and transport, and to produce a revised Biodiversity Action Plan for each appropriate SEPA office location, during 2013-2014.

The report goes on to demonstrate the considerable progress that the agency has made in response to the public bodies’ duties.

Commenting on the results, SEPA chief executive James Curran said: “We fully appreciate the urgent need for Scotland to move rapidly towards more sustainable practices and, as Scotland’s environmental regulator, we understand we must set a strong example to members of the public and businesses throughout the country.

“The agency is also a ‘major player’ on climate change, influencing and providing advice based on sound science.

“These are responsibilities we take very seriously and the ‘Sustainable SEPA’ report addresses the mixture of successes, issues, and challenges we have faced in achieving our environmental goals.

“In many areas we can be proud of our past achievements, particularly on our waste, water and biodiversity management as a business. However, we are still openly and honestly struggling with following our own greenhouse gas roadmap and keeping necessary pace with our target of an overall reduction in our emissions of 42% by 2020.

“This is an exciting time for SEPA as we are undergoing changes in the way we want to deliver our services for the people of Scotland. For example, we want to move to more modern buildings which accommodate more integrated, flexible and responsive ways of working, as well as providing cost savings and delivering better environmental performance.

“We recognise that achieving our sustainable goals will not be easy, particularly as we will have to accept increased emissions at times as we adopt new buildings and before we can dispose of old buildings. However, while we accept this will take time, we are fully committed to achieving our objectives and will continue to report publicly and transparently on our progress as we work towards these.”

Liz Gyekye

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