Low carbon non-renewable generation and resource recovery

We have a direct role in regulating low carbon non-renewable technologies, including the storage and use of radioactive substances and the accumulation and disposal of radioactive wastes.

We also have remit to consider and mitigate the potential environmental effects of these technologies. This is through, for example, environmental monitoring, acting as a statutory consultee for environmental impact assessments, reviewing air quality management plans, providing advice to Scottish Government on new energy developments and considering the use of new chemicals in energy generation.

Details of our role with regards to different technologies can be found in the following sections:

Nuclear

In accordance with the Radioactive Substances Act 1993, we regulate the storage, use and disposal of radioactive substances, carry out monitoring of radioactivity in food, the environment and licenced discharges, undertake emergency response and investigate and regulate historic areas of radioactive contamination.

Our regulatory remit covers three types of facility:

  • licensed nuclear sites and similar facilities such as power stations, naval bases and research facilities;
  • non-nuclear sites such as hospitals, universities and industry;
  • sites that use ‘closed’ sources (i.e. material stored in a protective container), such as paper mills and combine harvesters.

For more information, please see our webpages on radioactive substances regulations.

Pumped storage hydropower

Pumped storage hydro cannot be considered renewable until the source of the electricity used to pump the water is also renewable. Our role is to regulate this technology through the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 and to act as a statutory consultee for the local planning authority.

Detailed information of our regulatory role and guidance on how regulations apply to developers can be found on our hydropower regulations webpage.

Waste

We regulate the generation of energy from incineration of waste, production of methane from landfills and the generation of biogas from anaerobic digestion of waste through Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) (PPC) Regulations 2012and/or Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011. Planning permission is also required from the local planning authority, to which we are a statutory consultee.

Detailed information of our regulatory role and guidance on how regulations apply to developers can be found on our energy from waste regulations webpage and our guidance on licencing of anaerobic digestion plants

Carbon capture and storage

We are responsible for some of the primary environmental legislation that will cover carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Scotland: Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 and the European Emissions Trading System, and have statutory duties within the land use planning system and local air quality management system.

We are currently working with government, industry and academics to support the planned UK CCS demonstration projects – primarily the Peterhead project being developed by Shell and SSE – to test and assess the potential contribution of this technology at a commercial scale.

For further information please see our CCS webpage.

Heat

We regulate the generation of heat from waste incineration, production of methane from landfills and, where relevant, the production of biogas from anaerobic digestion (see Waste section above). Heat may also be generated through geothermal (hyperlink to geothermal section on renewables page) technologies.

We also have a role according to the requirements of Articles 14 (5-8) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)which are transposed into the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012. Under this legislation, we will require cost-benefit analyses to be undertaken for certain new and refurbished installations to assess the potential for waste heat to be efficiently utilised.

As a statutory consultee for development plansand designated consultation authority for strategic environmental assessments, we help to assess the potential for high-efficiency cogeneration (combined heat and power) and efficient district heating and cooling networks.

For more information, please see: