Dairy production is an important sector in the Scottish economy bringing money and jobs to rural communities. SEPA has developed good working relationships with those in the sector in recent years and has seen dairy producers work with us to make improvements in their environmental performance. However, significant regulatory challenges still remain. The Dairy production sector plan focuses on how SEPA will build on these relationships, working with the sector to achieve regulatory compliance and identify opportunities where the sector could, should they wish, go beyond compliance.
SEPA is committed to supporting regulated businesses during COVID-19 and following EU Exit. Whilst SEPA remains impacted by a complex and sophisticated cyber-attack the organisation continues to maintain protections for Scotland’s environment, communities and our people.
We recognise that the ability of operators to run their operations may be compromised.
We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to take all reasonable steps to remain in compliance with Scotland’s environmental laws. We expect operators to be actively preparing for the impacts of COVID-19, and ensuring that the impacts on the environment are minimised. We recognise, however, that in some cases operators may be unable to comply for reasons beyond their control.
Our regulatory response to COVID-19 public health emergency, the cyber-attack and EU exit can be found on our regulatory approach hub.
The environmental impacts of dairy production can vary greatly from farm to farm depending on the way on-farm activities are carried out. Our sector plan focuses on how we are going to work with dairy producers, building on an established approach, to deliver regulatory compliance. There are many opportunities that exist for good practice and technological enhancements that will help the sector prosper within the means of one planet and we will help to make the most of these opportunities for those that wish to operate beyond compliance. This includes working with dairy producers across their supply chain.
Scotland’s dairy producers are not licenced or permitted directly as a distinct activity, instead they must operate within a suite of legislation. The sector plan sets out how SEPA will work with the sector to help them achieve compliance with this legislation and how we can help should they volunteer to move beyond compliance. Key legislation includes:
We also regulate land based activities that occur in the course of dairy production under CAR General Binding Rules for rural diffuse pollution. Further information on the environmental regulation used to regulate the sector is available on page 23 of the sector plan.
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 SEPA’s own regulatory strategy, One Planet Prosperity, 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 Dairy production sector plan contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.