Scotch whisky sector plan

Successful businesses in future will be those that use low amounts of water, materials and carbon-based energy and create little waste. Prosperous societies will be comprised of these businesses. Whisky distillers are working towards this and SEPA's sector plan builds on this momentum, setting out a new vision for a sustainable future for Scotland's #1 export.


Meet the team

Fiona Johnstone Sector Lead
Fiona Johnstone
Sector Lead
Graeme Henderson Deputy Sector Lead
Graeme Henderson
Deputy Sector Lead
Scotch Whisky Sector Plan

Scotch Whisky Sector Plan

Scotch Whisky is made entirely in Scotland from cereals, water and yeast. A pristine environment is critical to its success. The sector plan focuses on unlocking the potential of beyond compliance opportunities, building on the exceptional performance of the sector by achieving above 90% in SEPA's Compliance Assessment Scheme four years in a row, while tackling the remaining compliance issues.

Scotch Whisky Sector Plan (PDF)Scotch Whisky Sector Plan (PDF) Scotch Whisky Sector Plan (flip book)Scotch Whisky Sector Plan (flip book)
Regulations and guidance

Regulations and guidance

Whisky distillers are largely regulated under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR) for the abstraction of water from, and the discharge of effluent to, the water environment.

Larger grain distilleries can also be covered by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Scotland) 2012 (PPC). PPC regulates all environmental impacts associated with the processing and manufacturing of Scotch Whisky at large sites.

Due to the flammamble nature of whisky, some distilleries (depending on volumes of ethanol held on site) fall under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

The operators of these sites must take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences for human health and the environment.