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 Emergency Management Team is working with Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the National Cyber Security Centre to respond to what is complex and sophisticated criminality.

 

Whilst 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 whilst 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.

Whilst 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.

12 March 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 here: floodlinescotland.org.uk

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

Register for Floodline here: floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup 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 now restored at https://www2.sepa.org.uk/waterlevels/. The service 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. The data download facility will follow in the coming 1-2 weeks. The rainfall web pages are not yet operational but will follow soon after.

We cannot currently provide historical river or rainfall data.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

No immediate service provision. We’re working on it. Check weekly service status updates.

 

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

Flood maps for your area remain available.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Check flood maps for your area here: map.sepa.org.uk/floodmaps

 

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact noting there will be a delay in response.

 

REGULATION

PERMITTING
WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO NOW? NEXT UPDATE

We are currently unable to receive, verify or determine applications for Waste Management Licences, Simple Waste Exemptions, Controlled Activities in the Water Environment, including registration of new private sewage systems, and PPC Part A & B. Please do not submit any application or contact us unless you require authorisation within the next three weeks.

The exceptions to this are existing private sewage treatment systems (septic tanks);  Waste Carrier Licences; Complex Waste Management Exemptions; and Applications under Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations (EASR) and the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (see below).

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

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

Contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact if 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.

12 March 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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If the system is:

 • More than two years old; and

 • Serves up to three properties

 • You can register at sepa.org.uk/regulations/authorisations-and-permits/application-forms/private-sewage-treatment-system

If the system is:

Less than two years old; or

Serves more than three properties

Contact us at: sepa.org.uk/contact

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 not currently able to receive applications to register new exempt activities OR to renew existing registrations. Please do not submit a new application or renewal notice at this time.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If your registration expired, or is due to expire, in the period between 24 December 2020 and 31 March 2021 and you have not already submitted a renewal notice to SEPA then provided you intend to carry on the exempt activity on the terms registered immediately prior to the expiry date we will treat your registration as extended for 3 months from its expiry date. 

Please do not submit a renewal notice  at this time. We will provide updated information on how to submit a renewal application when this is available.    

To register any new exempt activity contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact if you require to register for an activity that is starting within the next three weeks.

 

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you have made or wish to make made an application under EASR18 or RSA93 please contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact

 

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

It remains important to maintain compliant hazardous waste management. Follow the steps in our temporary regulatory position statement and purchase codes directly from SEPA by telephone on 07388 371621. https://regulatoryapproach.sepa.org.uk/media/1121/covid-19-swcn.pdf

 

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Applicants should continue to contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact to notify us of urgent applications and a member of the team will be in touch. Please be aware the processing of applications is taking longer than normal.

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

For radioactive sources, please complete the form Shipping radioactive sources between the UK and EU - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk/guidance/shipping-radioactive-sources-between-the-uk-and-eu) and then contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact (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 at sepa.org.uk/contact

 

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.

12 March 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 before 1 April 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

Although operators are able to access ETSWAP, SEPA is currently unable to access this system.  We are taking steps to regain access to ETSWAP. 

We are not currently able to receive communications or applications through ETSWAP, via email or by phone.  For urgent regulatory queries please contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Installation Operators

Please do not submit any applications to vary your permit to ETSWAP at this time and check here for regular updates. Contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact if you wish to discuss an urgent variation to your permit.

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Report environmental events at sepa.org.uk/report or contact our
24 Hour Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60

 

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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Our Sector Hub is available online: sectors.sepa.org.uk

Our COVID-19 and EU Exit Regulatory Approach Hub is available online: regulatoryapproach.sepa.org.uk/regulatory-approach

Our NetRegs Hub is available online: netregs.org.uk

If you require support contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact
noting there will be a delay in response.

 

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

Information about Deposit Return Scheme can be found at depositreturnscheme.zerowastescotland.org.uk

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Please submit any queries regarding Deposit Return Scheme to depositreturnscheme.zerowastescotland.org.uk/contact-us

 

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.

12 March 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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Comply with the legislation.
Guidance on this can be found on SEPA’s reservoir webpages: sepa.org.uk/regulations/water/reservoirs

The Controlled Reservoirs Register (sepa.org.uk/regulations/water/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 at sepa.org.uk/contact, 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

We are not currently able to provide any responses to any person or body on land use planning (including flood risk advice) or similar consultations related to contaminated land, Energy Act, Forestry etc. unless agreed as of outstanding national priority. Standing advice and our planning guidance is available at sepa.org.uk/environment/land/planning.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Do not contact SEPA for a planning response as it cannot be provided, but if you need support, then contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact noting there will be a delay in response. Please look at our standing advice and planning guidance at sepa.org.uk/environment/land/planning.

 

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) at:
sepa.org.uk/data-visualisation/scottish-communities-landfill-fund/

Check our Project Eligibility Quiz at:
scottishepa.typeform.com/to/YjmHzb

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

New projects can check eligibility for funding by taking the Eligibility Quiz here: scottishepa.typeform.com/to/YjmHzb

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 from here: sepa.org.uk/environment/waste/scottish-landfill-communities-fund/information-for-approved-bodies

continue to use the Project Screening Tool (Vicinity Checker) as required (sepa.org.uk/data-visualisation/scottish-communities-landfill-fund). 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 at sepa.org.uk/contact, 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.

12 March 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.  Please retain a copy of any supplementary PR data you would normally submit directly to SEPA but do not attempt to send this to us at present.  We will provide further updates on how to send this information to us as soon as possible.

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 here: sepa.org.uk/about-us/cyber-attack

12 March 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 at sepa.org.uk/contact. 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 (sepa.org.uk/media/348734/guidance-environmental-regulation-scotland-charging-scheme-2018.pdf) under section 6.11 of the charging guidance. 

12 March 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.

12 March 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.

12 March 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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Check the SEPA website (sepa.org.uk) and our Disclosure Log (www2.sepa.org.uk/disclosurelog) for information we’ve already published that may be of interest. You
can search our Disclosure Log (www2.sepa.org.uk/disclosurelog) 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 (sepa.org.uk/contact). 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 and offline. Information submitted to SEPA by email since Christmas Eve is not currently accessible and whilst online pollution and enquiry reporting has now been restored, information submitted in the early stages of the attack is currently not accessible.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact 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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you require support, contact us at sepa.org.uk/contact 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.

12 March 2021

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

Read the Complaints Handling Procedure – A Guide for Customers leaflet (sepa.org.uk/media/118393/sepa-complaints-handling-procedure-a-guide-for-customers.pdf) to find out more about the process. 

To contact us regarding a customer service complaint use the web enquiry form: sepa.org.uk/contact/contact-us-by-email/.

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.