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How we regulate

As Scotland’s principal environmental regulator, we regulate activities that could lead to pollution or environmental damage.

We expect all authorisation holders to comply with their environmental obligations. 

Our Approach to Regulation describes how we intend to target and focus our resources so that we can play our part, with others, to take the urgent action needed to protect and improve Scotland’s environment, and to tackle the climate, pollution and nature loss crises.

Our responsibilities include regulating:

Prioritising our regulatory activity

We regulate thousands of businesses across Scotland and receive over 8,000 incident-related reports each year. We triage all reports of environmental incidents and prioritise our activity to ensure we focus on the areas which best protect the environment and communities.

We consider the following areas to be of the highest priority:

  • Environmental incidents which cause the greatest impact
  • Significant non-compliance for activities we regulate

We consider the following areas to be of lower priority:

  • Environmental incidents which cause minor or no impact
  • Less significant non-compliances for activities we regulate

Issues which are lower priority may not be prioritised for action or we may take longer to initiate our response. 

Integrated Authorisation Framework (IAF)

The framework aims to integrate, as far as possible, the authorisation, procedural and enforcement arrangements relating to water, waste management, radioactive substances and pollution prevention and control, and will enable us to work in a more integrated way focusing on the environmental risks that matter the most. It will be delivered through the Environmental Authorisation (Scotland) Regulations 2018. It will help us to bring all those that we regulate into compliance quickly, easily and cost effectively and also enable us to help as many businesses as possible to go beyond compliance.

Guidance and information

We also provide guidance, support and information for anyone considering environmental matters within their business:

Contact us

If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of regulation, please use our online form to contact us.