SEPA's actions on climate change

We recognise that climate change represents a significant threat to the future of the planet’s ecosystems. Our work helps Scotland limit and adapt to climate change.

For this reason our vision says:
“We will do everything in our power to help Scotland address climate change to ensure Scotland’s environment, economy and communities flourish.”

Our climate challenge, is a five year plan which plots the direction for our work and identifies where we should build climate change work into our business.

It focuses on SEPA:

  • acting as a key climate change leader and adviser;
  • helping Scotland to adapt;
  • working with Scottish business;
  • being an exemplar and educator.

The delivery plan

To support Our climate challenge, our delivery plan, which is currently in preparation as part of the SEPA business planning process, will describe year by year to 2018 how we will act to address new issues and challenges as they arise

SEPA's role in addressing climate change

We have a key role in helping Scotland limit and adapt to climate change. We must ourselves also adapt to climate change and reduce our own emissions and our work must support wider Scottish, UK, European and international efforts to address the effects of climate change.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 places duties on the public sector to deliver progress on cutting Scotland’s emissions, reducing the impacts of climate change on Scotland, and acting sustainability.

Two key Scottish Government documents spell out how we can contribute to these ambitions. These are: 

Guidance issued on the Actsets out how we should report on the duties. We publish yearly reports on how we are delivering on these duties.

Regulating industry

We make a significant contribution towards Scotland's response to, and understanding of, climate change. Our regulatory powers help to control industrial emissions, which have declined by more than 40% since 1990.

Examples of some of the work we carry out in the context of climate change include:

  • Advice to operators
    We provide guidance and advice to businesses and other organisations, particularly through promoting environmental best practice.

  • Emissions trading schemes
    We implement the European Union Emissions Trading System and are responsible for the registration process and monitoring of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.

  • Flood prevention and ‘Floodline’
    We work closely with other organisations to manage flood risk in Scotland and promote sustainable flood management practices.

  • Fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances
    The production, use and disposal of fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances falls under our regulatory remit.

  • Policy issues
    We work with the Scottish Government to reform and resolve policy issues affecting energy efficiency, such as the regulation of Pollution Prevention and Control permits for Scottish industry and Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan.

  • Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI)
    We manage and make available to the public a register of site specific emissions to air and water for a range of specific pollutants.

Working with partners

Sorting climate change calls for a shared effort. We recognise the value of working with partners and stakeholders: adding value, securing multiple benefits from resources invested and achieving shared objectives. Partnerships hold the key to successfully delivering our ambitions; we will continue to be a strong partner in Scotland’s efforts.

Four agency action on climate change

SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Historic Scotland are all government funded organisations with complementary environmental responsibilities. We work together and have agreed a joint statement on climate change.