SEPA’s job is to protect and improve the environment in ways that, as far as possible, also create health and well-being benefits and generate sustainable economic growth. It’s a visionary purpose, and one which challenges us to work in different ways, with different partners, in order to be successful.
Last August we published our Regulatory Strategy: One Planet Prosperity, which set out not only how we will tackle environmental crime and drive up regulatory compliance, but also how we want to work with businesses and others to go beyond compliance and deliver real and lasting environmental, social and economic benefits for the people of Scotland. If we can deliver environmental success in creative ways which also produce social and economic success, it will contribute to creating more lasting and inclusive well-being and prosperity.
To do this, we will continue to work with those parts of the community with which we have traditionally worked, such as communities living around industrial facilities. We also need to build on this and reach out to parts of our society we haven’t worked with much before. A good example is working with groups that support those people in our society who find themselves in difficult circumstances and help them make positive changes in their lives. This is why we have developed our second Sustainable Growth Agreement (SGA), with Venture Trust. We are delighted that Venture Trust believes that a partnership with SEPA is worth trialling. Together, we hope that the initiatives to which we are jointly committing will provide new ways of supporting those people whom Venture Trust sets out to help, through developing new skills, acquiring new experiences, and benefitting from playing an active role in improving Scotland’s beautiful natural environment. Through the SGA, we will create opportunities for participants to undertake work experience with SEPA and other organisations, encourage our staff to volunteer their time to support Venture Trust, help Venture Trust reduce their own environmental impacts, and make training opportunities available to Venture Trust staff.
This is a new, and very different way of working for SEPA. At this stage, we can’t devote lots of effort to this type of work, but we do want to explore how this new type of relationship might help create environmental, social and economic success in a new way. Venture Trust works for people who find themselves in challenging and difficult circumstances, and helps them develop skills through which to become more stable and more employable, to create a healthier, happier and more productive future for themselves. We are delighted to be able to help.