Scotch whisky sector regulatory position

SEPA is committed to supporting everyone it regulates during the COVID-19 public health emergency, while maintaining protection of Scotland’s environment. This regulatory position is for the Scotch whisky sector to support the management of trade effluent related to shut down and start-up.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19.  We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws. 

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

We are only likely to consider taking a temporary regulatory position if the person contacts us at an early stage to advise us of a non-compliance or potential non-compliance, and we are satisfied that:

  • they have taken all reasonable steps to try and maintain compliance;
  • they will adequately manage any risks of harm to the environment or human health arising from the non- compliance.

If we take a temporary regulatory position we expect the person to:

  1. Tell us as soon as possible when they have, or will, become non-compliant;
  2. Comply with conditions attached to a temporary regulatory position
  3. Continue to meet all other Permit conditions or other environmental regulatory requirements not covered by a temporary regulatory position
  4. Return to compliance as quickly as possible. Any temporary regulatory position we take is likely to be time limited (normally to three months) but if the person can return to compliance quicker we will expect them to do so;
  5. Prevent and mitigate harm to the environment or human health;
  6. Follow the waste hierarchy in making waste management decisions and when waste is sent for re-use, recycling or disposal send it to a suitably authorised site.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19.  We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws. 

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

This position relates to the shut down at short notice and potential start-up of Scotch Whisky production facilities as a consequence of COVID-19.

It specifically relates to the discharge of trade effluent to receiving waters authorised under a water use licence under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 in connection with the operation of Scotch Whisky production facilities. 

This position statement only applies to a single shut down period at each facility which occurs after the date of this position statement and a single start up period at each such facility after the date of this position statement, unless SEPA approves otherwise.

 

Scotch whisky sector regulatory position statement

Contact information

If you have any questions on this position statement, you can contact:

  1. Your trade association, Scotch Whisky Association or Malt Distillers Association of Scotland, as both have helped develop this position.
  2. Our offices are now closed but our people and online services are available to support you. You can continue to use your usual email route into SEPA and liaise with your regular Environmental Performance team contact. If they are not available or you are unsure of who to contact, please use our online form to get in touch with us. 

Need help to manage the impact of coronavirus on your business? Visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.uk  for information on government coronavirus funds.