SEPA's code of practice for openness

Our principles

SEPA believes that its aims of environmental protection and enhancement are best served by being an open and accessible organisation and by providing the public with information on our activities and on the state of the environment.

We are committed to providing an efficient, high quality public service which fully meets the principles of the Government's Citizen's Charter. This code explains how we will apply these principles in practice.

SEPA board meetings

Dates and venues for SEPA board meetings will be announced in the press well in advance. Agendas of these meetings are made available to the public on specific request at the same time as they are sent to board members. Agendas and minutes for the main board meetings are posted on our web site.

Board meetings are held in open session but, if appropriate, may include a private session for the discussion of matters.

Names of board members and their interests are freely available.

Consultation and communication

SEPA staff are in regular contact with operators of industrial processes and holders of environmental licences etc and we encourage consultation and discussion as a means of improving environmental quality. We welcome comments from interested parties on our policies and strategies. All formal consultation documents, for example on our charging schemes, are made available to those who may be affected by their requirements.

Environmental licences

Applications for environmental licences which may have a significant environmental impact are advertised in the local press. Anyone with an interest can then see the application and make comments on the proposal.

Public registers

We maintain a number of statutory public registers. The information is held on a combination of paper and computer files which may be inspected, free of charge, at our corporate office and certain local offices. For further information about registers please contact your local SEPA office.

Disclosure of information

Information will be made available under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 external link and the Environmental Information Regulations external link.

There are certain types of information which are generally not available to the public, which include:

  • confidential information which is part of a legal case, or concerning national security
  • personal or commercially confidential information
  • incomplete or draft documents at our discretion
  • information where disclosure may lead to environmental damage.

If we have to refuse a request, this will be confirmed in writing by the Access to Information team, outlining the reasons for the refusal. Where we are able to release information, it will be done as soon as practicable.