Beyond compliance


Terry 3“At SEPA, we are changing the way we regulate”. This is what our Chief Executive Terry A’Hearn told an audience of legal professionals at Tuesday night’s Charles Smith Memorial lecture. Terry was speaking about One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy, and how SEPA will be working with businesses to go beyond compliance to help Scotland tackle the challenge of reducing the overuse of the planet’s resources.

Our planet is a precious resource, but one which is also under pressure. It is estimated that if everyone lived as we in Scotland do, we would need almost three planets to support ourselves. We only have one. Tackling this overuse of natural resources is one of the key challenges for our time. It is this challenge, along with our new statutory purpose, that led to SEPA developing a new approach to regulating that helps to put Scotland on a path that creates prosperity within planetary limits. This approach is set out in One Planet Prosperity – Our Regulatory Strategy.

To make real progress towards one planet prosperity, we need to focus on helping as many as possible of those that we regulate to move ‘beyond compliance’. This does not mean additional regulatory burdens on businesses.

Moving to beyond compliance

Moving to beyond compliance

Beyond compliance means working with those businesses that voluntarily want to go broader and further than mere compliance because they recognise that adopting this approach creates commercial benefits, such as reducing costs, opening up new markets, and reducing supply-chain risks. The most successful businesses in the 21st century will be those that are low carbon, low materials use, low water use and low waste. For these businesses, the environment will be an opportunity, not a problem.

It won’t be an easy journey but SEPA’s One Planet approach is leading the way; creating the regulatory framework for businesses to go beyond compliance and bringing the goal of one planet prosperity within our grasp.


The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture
The Brodies environmental law lectures are held every year at the University of Edinburgh in association with Brodies LLP.  This year’s lecture – The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture – is held in honour of Charles Smith, who sadly died earlier this year. A specialist in environmental law, trusted advisor and mentor, Charles was a partner at Brodies LLP and was responsible for starting the environmental law lecture series, which has now been running for 24 years.

Charles was at the forefront of developing Environmental Law as a practice area in private solicitors firms in Scotland in the early 90s. In recent times, he provided extremely well considered, useful contributions to SEPA on the legal thinking around Regulatory Reform. He also acted for SEPA on various matters, including in connection with Water Environment Fund work. SEPA solicitors who worked with Charles were always impressed by his immense intelligence, but at the same time his approachability and his efficient, helpful and professional advice. He is much missed.” Alison York, SEPA Regional Solicitor.


Comments are closed.