Cyber-Attack: Service Status

The latest information on our current service status and recovery. We’ll update this on a weekly basis so those that we work with know what to expect and how SEPA is prioritising its work. Further information on the cyber-attack is available.

 

On Christmas Eve, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency confirmed that it was responding to a significant cyber-attack affecting its contact centre, internal systems, processes and communications. SEPA will not engage with likely international serious and organised criminals intent on disrupting public services and extorting public funds. The matter is subject to a live criminal investigation.

Following the attack, business continuity arrangements were immediately enacted and our Agency Management Team is working with Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the National Cyber Security Centre to respond to what is complex and sophisticated criminality.

 

While the attack significantly impacted our organisation and infrastructure, we’re working to clear external priorities:

  • Protecting Scotland’s environment.
  • Providing priority services to individuals and businesses across Scotland.

Our approach continues to be to take the best professional advice from multi-agency partners, including Police Scotland and cyber security experts, with the multi-agency response focused on eradication, remediation and recovery.

We've said that while for the time being we’ve lost access to most of our systems, including our email system, what we haven't lost is the knowledge, skills and experience of our twelve-hundred expert staff. 

Through their work we've adapted and continue to provide priority regulatory, monitoring, flood forecasting and warning services. In addition, our approach will continue to prioritise supporting Scotland's recovery.

While some systems and services may be badly affected for some time, step-by-step we're working to assess and consider how we recover. Below you’ll find the latest information on our current service status and recovery. We’ll update this on a weekly basis so that we’ve clear on what those we work with can expect and how we'll prioritise progress.

PROTECTING COMMUNITIES & BUSINESSES AT RISK FROM FLOODING

FLOOD FORECASTING & WARNING
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Flood forecasting and warning services are adapting and continuing to operate.

We remain able to issue alerts and warnings.
Floodline remains operational.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Floodline provides live flooding information and advice on how to prepare for or cope with the impacts of flooding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Check the latest flood information and follow alerts and warnings

Sign up and get notified when the area you live, work or travel through is at risk of flooding. 

Register for Floodline online or contact us: 0345 988 1188.

 

RAINFALL & RIVER LEVELS DATA
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

The river levels web pages are fully functional, including the data download facility.

The rainfall data web pages have also been re-established. These services will still be subject to intermittent interruptions as we build resilience measures in the background but we will seek to keep these to a minimum.

We cannot currently provide historical river or rainfall data.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

The river levels web pages are fully functional, including the data download facility.
Check weekly service status updates.

 

FLOOD MAPS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Flood maps for your area remain available.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Check flood maps for your area

 

FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We’re continuing to work with Scottish Government, Scottish Water and local authorities to coordinate and concentrate efforts to tackle flood risk.

We are required to finalise and publish the next set of updates to Scotland’s plans by the end of the year. We are currently working with our partners to establish a new timetable for agreeing and publishing the final plan updates.

Land use planning advice for flood risk is covered in the
land use planning section under regulation.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Contact us noting there will be a delay in response.

 

REGULATION

PERMITTING
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Please see below for the services we are now running in relation to:

Existing private sewage treatment systems (septic tanks); 

Complex Waste Management Exemptions;

Applications under Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations (EASR) and the Radioactive Substances Act 1993; and

Waste Carrier Licences;

We are working hard to re-establish the ability to receive, verify and determine applications for Waste Management Licences, Controlled Activities in the Water Environment, including registration of new private sewage systems, and PPC Part A & B.  For now we remain unable to undertake this work.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Please do not submit any applications at this time and check regular updates.

Contact us if you had submitted an application prior to 24 December 2020 and your authorisation is required urgently within the next three weeks.

 

PUBLIC REGISTER
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are currently unable to access any documentation on our Public Register and unfortunately cannot provide any documentation regarding authorised sites or ongoing applications.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Check regular updates

 

PRIVATE SEWAGE SYSTEMS (SEPTIC TANKS)
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We have established a system to allow registration of existing septic tanks.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If the system is:

 • More than two years old;

 • Serves up to three properties

 • You can register your system online

If the system is:

Less than two years old; or

Serves more than three properties

Contact us

Please only contact us if you require 
authorisation within the next 3 weeks.

 

COMPLEX WASTE MANAGEMENT EXEMPTIONS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are now able to accept applications to register new exempt activities and to renew existing registrations.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Contact us if you require to register for an activity that is starting within the next three weeks or your exemption is due for renewal within next 4 weeks.

If your registration expired, or is due to expire, in the period between 24 December 2020 and 30 April 2021 SEPA is treating your registration as extended until 30 June 2021.  The period of extension will end on 30 June 2021.  We would now ask that you contact us to renew any registration that falls within the aforementioned dates.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATIONS (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2018 (EASR18) / RADIOACTIVE SUBSTANCES ACT 1993 (RSA93)
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We have established a system to allow determination of permits made under EASR18/RSA93.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you have made or wish to make made an application under EASR18 or RSA93 please contact us

 

SPECIAL WASTE CONSIGNMENT NOTES
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

SEPA remains unable to sell pre-coded printed special waste consignment notes due to the reduced use of SEPA offices. However, the codes must still be purchased directly from SEPA.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

It remains important to maintain compliant hazardous waste management. Follow the steps in this temporary regulatory position statement and purchase codes directly from SEPA by telephone on 07388 371621.

 

TRANS-FRONTIER SHIPMENTS OF WASTES
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We have very limited capability to receive, verify and approve applications for the export or import of wastes.  We are prioritising applications based on scale and proximity of environmental, financial and contractual impacts that delays in processing the applications would result in.

Imports of sealed radioactive sources to the UK from the EU still need a prior written declaration to be made before shipments can take place.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Applicants can now contact the team directly on Transfrontier@sepa.org.uk to notify SEPA of urgent applications. Please be aware the processing of applications is taking longer than normal

For radioactive sources, please complete the form Shipping radioactive sources between the UK and EU - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and then contact us (please do not use the rsnotifications@sepa.org.uk mailbox).

If this delay is likely to cause an adverse impact to the environment or communities contact us.

 

WASTE CARRIERS LICENSES
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We’ve established a system to allow carriers and brokers of controlled waste to register with us.

We cannot issue copy cards for waste carriers.

A list of all carriers and brokers registered up to 24 December 2020 is available on the website. Customers who registered since 18 February 2021 will have received their authorisation by email as we are not currently sending registrations as PDF attachments.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

For businesses wanting to register for the first time, you can use our online service

If your registration is due to expire in the period between 24 December 2020 and 31 May 2021 SEPA will treat it as extended until 30 June 2021. We’ll provide updated information on how to submit a renewal application when this is available.

 

EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We have restored access to ETSWAP and are currently processing a backlog of applications and notifications. We are not currently able to receive communications via email or by phone, but may now be in direct contact to discuss any submission that operators have made to ETSWAP.

We would encourage operators to use the notification system in ETSWAP as the best means to contact SEPA about UK ETS and submit any compliance documentation.

Once we have completed processing the backlog we intend to resume a normal service. Please check here for regular updates.

Contact us if you wish to discuss an urgent regulatory query.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Installation Operators  

Do continue to comply with the requirements of your permit. 

You must submit your Annual Emissions Monitoring (AEM) report for 2020 by 31 March and surrender allowances by 30 April.

If you are eligible for a free allocation of allowances we will amend the conditions of your permit to reflect the recently introduced legislative requirements relating to free allocation as soon as possible - this will include the requirement to monitor the activity levels of your installation in accordance with the Free Allocation Regulation and your approved (by SEPA) Monitoring Methodology Plan (MMP). Please continue to prepare and submit an activity level change report on or before 30 June 2021. Pending formal variation of your permit – SEPA expects you to monitor in line with your previously approved MMP. 

For Aviation Operators

Do continue to monitor your emissions in accordance with your Emissions Monitoring Plan. You must submit your AEM report for 2020 by 31 March and surrender allowances by 30 April.

 

POLLUTION REPORTING & ENVIRONMENTAL INCIDENT RESPONSE
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

The ability to report environmental events or pollution remains available and we will respond to the most significant environmental incidents.

As a result of current COVID-19 restrictions we will only initiate field response to deal with the most significant environmental incidents however we will deal with as many reports of pollution as possible remotely.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Report environmental events online or contact our
24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60

 

FLYTIPPING
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

The Dumb Dumpers phone number is currently not operational.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you see anyone dumping rubbish illegally, report to the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line online.

 

ADVICE TO SCOTTISH BUSINESSES
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Information and advice for regulated sectors remains available through our sector plans and COVID-19 and EU Exit Regulatory Approach hubs.

Information and advice for small and medium-sized enterprises remains available through our NetRegs hub. Social media outlets associated with the NetRegs service continue to be monitored and responses to enquiries and emerging issues will be provided when possible.

Other than pollution incidents, we have very limited capability to assess and respond to non-urgent enquiries.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Our Sector Hub is available online

Our COVID-19 and EU Exit Regulatory Approach Hub is available online

Our NetRegs Hub is available online

If you require support contact us
noting there will be a delay in response.

 

DEPOSIT RETURN SCHEME
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are now able to accept enquiries on the regulation of Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme. 

We’re working hard to clear our backlog of emails. This will take us time so please note there may be a delay in our response to you.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

 

For general information about Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme, including frequently asked questions, please visit the Zero Waste Scotland website.

You can contact us about the regulation of Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme by emailing depositreturn@sepa.org.uk.

 

RESERVOIR INCIDENTS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We continue to be able to respond to reservoir incidents. Flood risk maps continue to be available to emergency responders via resilience direct.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If there is a reservoir incident, please contact our 24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

 

RESERVOIR REGULATION – RESERVOIRS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2011
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are not currently able to receive, verify or process reservoir registrations or engineers certificates, reports, statements or appointments.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Comply with the legislation.
Guidance on this can be found on SEPA’s reservoir webpages

The Controlled Reservoirs Register, which contains information on all registered controlled reservoirs, is also available.

Do continue to prepare reports and submissions, but don't send them to us or enquire about submissions at this time. We'll provide further updates on how to send information to us, as soon as possible. 

If there is an emergency at your reservoir then please contact our
24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

You can contact us, noting that we have very limited capacity to assess and respond to non-urgent enquiries.

 

LAND USE PLANNING, CONTAMINATED LAND, ELECTRICITY ACT, FORESTRY AND SIMILAR CONSULTATIONS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

From 31 March our staff will be contacting planning authorities to start triaging and prioritising work on the accumulated backlog of casework. Liaison with planning authorities will be the main communication route for planning related advice. Guidance on how SEPA will work with planning authorities to triage the backlog is available.

Standing advice and other planning guidance is available.

 

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you need support out with the channels described above, please contact us.

Please look at our standing advice and planning guidance.

 

SCOTTISH LANDFILL TAX
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

SEPA staff are not currently able to access correspondence sent to SEPA emails but we are working closely with Revenue Scotland so that we can continue to carry out our delegated functions.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you have any Scottish Landfill Tax enquiries please contact Revenue Scotland at SLFT@revenue.scot

 

SCOTTISH LANDFILL COMMUNITIES FUND
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are not currently able to receive notifications from Approved Bodies. 

Check our Project Screening Tool (Vicinity checker).

Check our Project Eligibility Quiz.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

New projects can check eligibility for funding by taking the Eligibility Quiz.

Approved Bodies should:
continue to operate as normal; receiving, assessing and enrolling applications for funding. 

continue to complete the required notification forms as usual but do not send these to us at present – forms can be downloaded.

continue to use the Project Screening Tool (Vicinity Checker) as required. Where results show the location to be just
out with the 10 mile radius (usually prompting a referral to SEPA), use best effort to ensure that the project location is around 10 miles from a Landfill Site or Transfer Station. 

If you require urgent support, contact us noting there will be a delay in response. 

 

DATA RETURNS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Many environmental licences include a requirement to submit data returns or other reporting requirements on an annual or quarterly basis.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Do continue to prepare your reports and submissions but don’t send them to us or enquire about submission at present.  We’ll provide further updates on how to send information to us as soon as possible.  This includes any Scottish Pollutant Return Inventory (SPRI) returns.

For businesses who are required to submit Producer Responsibility (PR) data, please continue to use the relevant UK system to submit your data.  SEPA is also now able to receive data submissions via the Producer.Responsibility@sepa.org.uk mailbox.

For the avoidance of doubt, you should continue to report any environmental incidents as required by your SEPA permit by contacting our
24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60

 

OUR ORGANISATION

DATA THEFT : SUPPORTING OUR PARTNERS
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Despite systems being certified to UK Government security standards, cyber security specialists have identified the theft of circa 1.2 GB of data. On Thursday, 21st January 2021, we confirmed that data stolen by what was likely to be international serious and organised cyber-crime groups has now been illegally published online.

Full information is available.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Working with cyber security experts, a dedicated team has been established to identify the detail of business or partner information loss and, where identified, direct contact will be made as quickly as possible with affected organisations.

If you need to contact us about this, please contact us. If you cannot access the form and need support completing this, please contact us on
01698 839 022 (Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm).

 

PAYMENT OF APPLICATION FEES, SUBSISTENCE FEES OUTSTANDING INVOICES

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We can only accept BACs payments at this time.

SEPA is unable to process applications for temporary cessation of charges for activities (e.g agricultural irrigation or fish farms) at this time. We will provide an opportunity to apply for temporary cessations for any relevant period before we invoice subject to the normal rules under section 6.11 of the charging guidance

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

We can only accept BACs payments at this time.

If you wish to make a payment call  07388 371 621
for our bank account details or queries.

 

SUPPLIER ENQUIRIES

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We can only deliver our services with the support of our supply chain. Our ability to communicate with our supply chain partners is currently limited.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be in touch with many of our suppliers to update them on the situation and seek their support in our recovery.

We are committed to ensuring SEPA remains an excellent organisation to work with, even through this challenging time, but want to ensure we set achievable expectations. 

Over the coming weeks due to impacts on our systems, payments may be delayed - but all of our suppliers will be paid.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you are a supplier and have a query on our account with you call 07826 297 554.

If you have a contract query please call 07721 238 319.

 

RECRUITMENT ENQUIRIES

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Recruiting managers and our human resources team are liaising with candidates who are due to start new posts with SEPA to ensure all necessary pre-employment checks are complete and to agree a start date.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you applied for a vacancy that was recently advertised please bear with us. 
Recruitment activity is currently on hold but we will be in touch with applicants as soon as we can.

 

ACCESS TO INFORMATION ENQUIRIES

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Our information and email systems remain impacted and offline as a result of the cyber attack.

Our offices remain closed due to COVID 19 restrictions so we continue to be unable to provide copies of our hard copy information.

As a result, we are limited in our ability to respond to Access to Information enquiries. We will provide advice and assistance to you as best we are able but may not be able to provide the information you are looking for at this time.

We continue to keep the Scottish Information Commissioner updated about our service status.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Check the SEPA website and our Disclosure Log  for information we’ve already published that may be of interest. You
can search our Disclosure Log by entering a key search word in the Title box and clicking on the filter icon

You can also check Scotland’s Environment website (regulatoryapproach.sepa.org.uk/environment.gov.scot). This website brings together environmental information and data in one place so that is easy to search, discover, analyse and interpret.

Continue to check our service status, which will be updated weekly (regulatoryapproach.sepa.org.uk/cyber-attack-service-status).

If you need to contact us, you can do this using our online form. Please note there may be a delay in our response.

 

EMAIL COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Email systems remain impacted. As part of a phased rollout, an increasing number of employees are now gaining access to SEPA email addresses.

As email is restored, staff will have a significant volume of information and emails to manage against the backdrop of continued limitations due to the impacts of the cyber-attack and COVID-19.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

The restoration of SEPA emails will be phased and not all colleagues have access to our systems.  Likewise, please don’t assume that any emails that you have sent to us since Christmas Eve (and in the period leading up to this) are currently being actioned.

We’re working hard to clear our backlog of emails, but it will take us time. If you have not progressed your enquiry via another route in the interim, please keep checking this Service Status update which includes information on the services we are currently able to deliver.

You can continue to contact us noting there will be a delay in response.

 

MAIL

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

Our offices are closed to all except a few critical staff following the guidance on COVID-19. We are unable to send or receive mail through the post and have put a Keep Safe in place. Please do not send any mail to SEPA at this time.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you require support, contact us noting there will be a delay in response.

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINTS

WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are able to receive customer service complaints and depending on the nature of the complaint we may be able to resolve it. We may not be able to progress complaints within the timescales set out in the Complaint Handling Procedure. Once we receive your complaint, we will log the details and make contact with you to discuss how and when it can be progressed.

23 April 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Read the information on SEPA’s Complaints Handling Procedure to find out more about the process.

To contact us regarding a customer service complaint use the web enquiry form.

When completing the form, tell us:

Your full name, address and a contact telephone number

As much as you can about the complaint

What has gone wrong

How you want us to resolve the matter.

Cyber-Attack: Service Status

Contacting SEPA

  • Further information about the cyber-attack is available on the SEPA website.

  • The SEPA website hosts information and advice for regulated business. Please note that we currently don't have access to email systems and some online applications and data services are not in service. 

  • Report pollution and environmental events online or call our 24 Hour Pollution Hotline, 0800 80 70 60.

  • Find the latest flood updates and register for Floodline online or call 0345 988 1188.

  • If a delay in response is likely to cause an adverse impact to the environment or communities please contact us.