SEPA: two decades of regulating Scotland

Scotland’s environmental regulator was created at the same time as its southern counterpart but has taken its own path. Isabella Kaminski looks at SEPA’s unique challenges and talks to its current and former chief executives

SEPA has been responsible for monitoring air quality since its birth, despite local authorities’ initial reluctance to surrender controlTwenty years ago environmental regulation in Scotland was patchy, and polluters were treated much more leniently than they were in England and Wales. It was hoped that a new regulator would improve enforcement, fill in the data and evidence gaps, and create a more consistent approach across the nation.

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