Part one of the Hearts and Minds interview with the Environment Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, is here, but the clip below begins with the key question of why we remain the only region of the archipelago not to have an independent Environmental Protection Agency despite the Review of Environmental Governance’s recommendation. The minister’s claim that she hasn’t rejected that report is based on her apparently cherry-picking some of its proposals. But when those proposals all followed on from the main recommendation – to set up an Independent EPA – it’s not a claim that stands up to scrutiny. And, as one of the review panel members said, the minister appears to be still “precisely missing the point” about independence – as well as failing to address the High Court ruling on Area Plans. There’s also another reference to the Scottish EPA – now the minister is apparently “working on a better regulation agenda with the Scottish EPA..” Has anyone told them that..
Another argument put in the interview was in relation to accountability.
But here’s what the independent Scottish EPA has to say about that.
The agency board is responsible to Scottish Ministers, with SEPA officers reporting to a specific minister and department at the Scottish Executive. Our corporate management team is responsible to the agency board, and there is a formal scheme of delegated authority to board sub-committees and SEPA officers.
The agency board members are appointed by the First Minister and they set SEPAs direction. The three regional boards act as the eyes and ears of SEPA, with members appointed from a range of backgrounds and locations.
Around half of our funding comes from the Scottish Executive, with the other half charged to operators that we regulate, under the polluter-pays principle. Accordingly, we are accountable through Ministers and officials at the Scottish Executive for what we do and how we spend our money.