The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the public body responsible for environmental protection in Scotland.
The main aim of SEPA is "to provide an efficient and integrated environmental protection system for Scotland which will both improve the environment and contribute to the Government’s goal of sustainable development".
More detail about SEPA can be found on the website www.sepa.org.uk.
SEPA similar to the HSE have a long history of involvement at BP Grangemouth. The regulatory framework for the environment relevant to the Complex at the time of the incidents was Integrated Pollution Control under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
At the time of the incidents SEPA had the lead responsibility to control discharges (to land, air and water) from the larger and more complex "prescribed", "scheduled" or "Part A" processes through Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) authorisations, of which there were around 200 in force in Scotland. Regular reviews of IPC authorisations ensure continual improvement in environmental performance, either through changes in management systems or the installation of new technologies as they become available.
Following investigations carried out by SEPA in the aftermath of the incidents no significant environmental impact was identified.
The EC Directive 96/61/EC on Integrated Pollution and Control (IPPC) is being implemented under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. Under the Act the existing IPC regime is being replaced by a new Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regime. SEPA have the responsibility for the implementation of PPC in Scotland.
The requirements of the Directive are based on the IPC regime. However there are a number of differences:
SEPA is also the regulatory authority charged with implementing the requirements of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. This Act requires registration for the use of radioactive materials, and authorisation for the storage and disposal of radioactive wastes. The purpose of this Act is to protect the environment by controlling the use of radioactive substances, including the generation of waste and proper disposal of any such waste. BP hold valid registrations for use and keeping of closed radioactive sources at the Complex. Most of the registered sources on-site are used for non-intrusive measurement of levels within vessels.