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SCOTTISH business achieved environmental compliance of more than 90% for the fourth year in a row according to the latest figures published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
The agency’s compliance assessment scheme (CAS) rates an operator’s environmental performance against its licence conditions. The watchdog says the annual results enable it to take a targeted approach which focuses on high-risk operations and under-performing sites more frequently than compliant or low-risk activities.
The figures show that 90.5% of Scottish regulated business sites were assessed as compliant –excellent, good or broadly compliant in 2018, with 76.2% – almost 4000 sites – rated as excellent.
The report highlights the fact that Scotch whisky, distilling and brewing achieved 95.5% compliance.
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Sepa also said it is firmly focused on tackling poor performance at the ExxonMobil chemical plant at Mossmorran, Fife, at the centre of new concerns over flaring this week.
And it also has a new “enforcement unit” to fast-track the tackling of serious non-compliance.
Sepa chief executive Terry A’Hearn said: “As part of our response to the climate emergency, we’re clear that environmental compliance is non-negotiable. Every Scottish business will comply with the law, and we’ll work to ensure as many as possible will go even further.
“We’re pleased to recognise the exceptionally high standards of compliance from Scotland’s distillers and brewers. What’s more, we’re delighted to raise a glass to iconic Scottish brands like Tennent’s Lager, who are locking in the environmental and economic opportunities of business sustainability.”
However, A’Hearn added: “While recognising successes, we’re also clear on our strategy to tackle consistent non-compliance. We’ve already refocused resources on tackling poor performance at complex industrial sites, and will this year start to see the first in a series of significant investments by operators that aim to improve environmental outcomes for communities.
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“That, combined with a newly established dedicated enforcement unit, will focus on the most serious non-compliance.”
Sepa said that while many of Scotland’s industrial sectors, such as non-renewable energy and chemicals, achieved over 90% compliance as a whole, poor performance at complex industrial sites continued to impact local communities across the reporting period.
The Mossmorran plant achieved a “poor” rating for the second year in a row due to flaring and INEOS FPS Limited’s (Forties Pipeline) site in Grangemouth, rated as “very poor” in 2017 and again in 2018.
Martin Doogan, group engineering manager at C&C (owners of Tennent Caledonian Breweries), said: “Continuing to identify innovative ways to further minimise our environmental impact-sustainability is firmly embedded at the core of everything we do.”