Cyber-attack & data theft: Our response & service status

Waste data

Service status

A sophisticated criminal cyber-attack has had a major impact on the way SEPA works. We are working through all the services that we provide to understand what we need to do in the short and longer term to restore services. We are approaching this work with a sense of urgency.

Service status update: Data returns

What are we able to do now?

Many environmental licences include a requirement to submit data returns or other reporting requirements on an annual or quarterly basis.  

What should you do now?

We are now actively reviewing many of the data returns and kindly request you to submit any outstanding returns for the following areas:

Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI):

As a result of the cyber-attack, SEPA is unable to accept SPRI data returns for 2020 via the online reporting portal or the waste LSR system as in previous years, and operators who would normally submit by email were advised through SEPA’s service status, to prepare but not submit their returns.

We are now able to collect SPRI 2020 data, and will do this by email, using an excel form. We will be contacting you in early May using your SPRI contact’s email address. Where we don’t have this, we will look for a suitable alternative and may contact you by phone to confirm the correct contact.

Once your details are confirmed, we will:

  • email you with one form per SPRI site, which will include your published 2019 pollutant emissions and waste transfer data (where available).
  • ask you to complete the form using your 2020 figures, and to provide the usual method and qualification information.
  • ask for this form to be returned by email to SPRI.administration@sepa.org.uk by 18 June 2021.
  • supply a brief additional guidance note to help you complete the form.

Waste Data Flow (WDF):

The WDF data submissions and SEPA data validation tool are not impacted and operating as usual. Please submit your data by 31 May 2021. Please send any queries to wastedata.flow@sepa.org.uk

Licensed Site Returns (waste) and Material Recovery Facility Code of Practice Returns:

Please submit any outstanding returns to waste.data@sepa.org.uk as soon as possible. Submitted returns should be representative of the same reporting periods as stated in your licence or permit, data should not be consolidated in one single return. Please submit all outstanding returns relating to Q4 2020, Annual 2020 and Q1 2021 reporting periods by 30 June 2021. Following this, please revert to the standard reporting schedule. Additional detail, reporting guidance, and current reporting forms are available on our website.

Waste Exemptions (waste):

Please submit any outstanding returns to waste.data@sepa.org.uk as soon as possible.

Producer Responsibility (PR):

For businesses who are required to submit Producer Responsibility (PR) data, please continue to use the relevant UK system to submit your data.  SEPA is also now able to receive data submissions via the Producer.Responsibility@sepa.org.uk mailbox.

Other returns not mentioned above:

For any other returns required by your SEPA licence and not covered above, in most cases we are able to receive these and are proactively contacting licence holders to request submission.  In the interim, if you wish to submit a licence return not covered above, please contact us for advice on the most appropriate means of submission.

For the avoidance of doubt, you should continue to report any environmental incidents as required by your SEPA permit by contacting our 24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

Waste data

SEPA is responsible for reporting national waste statistics to the Scottish Government and European Union among others. As regulator, SEPA also has a duty to assess whether waste management sites comply with the conditions of their licence or permit.

To do this, SEPA collects and verifies data from a number of sources, mainly:

  • Operators of all licensed and most permitted waste management sites
  • Operators of certain activities exempt from full waste management licensing
  • Local authorities.

A strategy for improving waste data in Scotland, also known as the Waste data strategy 2017, aims to deliver Scotland's current and future waste data needs as we move towards a more resource-focused future. Written in partnership by SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Government, it outlines what we will achieve and how we are going to co-ordinate and deliver a plan that will support Scotland's transition to a more circular economy, where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible.

Most of the data are presented as interactive tools with tables and charts that can be filtered to suit. All the data are available in Excel format.

SEPA also collects and reports on offsite transfers of waste from industrial sites through the Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI).