Strategic infrastructure (transport & utilities)
At SEPA, we are determined to engage at all levels of the decision-making chain, from client to contractor, to help Scotland develop infrastructure that creates a very different future for Scotland – infrastructure that locks in low environmental impact and, therefore, better and more lasting social and economic success. This is our plan for the strategic infrastructure (transport and utilities) sector. It sets out how we are going to regulate the sector and work with it to protect and improve the environment. The plan explains how we will work directly with operators and sites, and includes ways that we will use our shared influence to improve environmental performance throughout the industry supply chain.
Regulation and guidance
We regulate the strategic infrastructure sector through a variety of channels. Our direct regulatory role is usually where there is a licence or permit required for a construction activity, or where there has been a pollution incident and we are called to investigate, but we also have teams of specialists who get involved at other points in the strategic infrastructure lifecycle.
Our direct regulation of infrastructure developments is concerned for the most part with the construction phase of a project, which may include engineering works impacting rivers, such as culverts, realignments or bank reinforcement, and/or mobile plant conducting crushing of stone or concrete. We also issue authorisations for discharges from the drainage serving some major roads and administer exemptions from waste management licensing (WML) for the recycling or recovery of material that has entered the waste stream.
Our staff advise clients and contractors on their responsibilities, and we provide guidance on specific activities such as engineering works.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the First Minister pledged that Scotland would lead the way to deliver a more equal, more just world, by signing Scotland up to the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. These global goals give us the framework to achieve real change, from eradicating poverty to ensuring a good home for us all. This vision is underpinned by Our Approach to Regulation, which aims to deliver environmental protection and improvement in ways which help communities and businesses thrive within the resources of our planet.
Scotland’s businesses have a critical role to play in leading Scotland’s contribution to achieving SDGs. Through our sector plans, we have identified opportunities that will work towards achieving the goals and help realise the economic benefit of increased resource efficiency, innovation and resilience.
The actions set out in the Strategic Infrastructure (Transport and Utilities) Sector Plan contribute towards UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.