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.

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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)

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.

Sustainable Development Goals

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 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 Scotch Whisky sector plan contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.