Response 144547366

Back to Response listing

About You

What is your name?

Name
Scottish Power

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

Please select one item
(Required)
Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your organisation?

Organisation
Scottish Power

Part 2: Policy Overview

1. Do you agree with the benefits set out here?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

2. Are there any other comments you would like to make on Part 2?

Are there any other comments you would like to make on Part 2?§
We have no other comments to add.

3. How could SEPA better support the uptake of new technologies?

How could SEPA better support the uptake of new technologies?
SEPA could better support the uptake of new technologies by providing opportunities and flexibility during the development, testing and implementation of innovative technologies, without compromising environmental protection. Additional flexibility on emission limits when trialling new technologies would also be helpful. For example, SEPA might indicate that it would not normally take enforcement action if an emission limit is breached during a trial of the new technology.

Part 3: Key features of the new framework for authorisation holders.

4. Do you agree that the framework should include a set of universal outcomes?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

5. If so, are the outcomes proposed the right ones?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, ScottishPower agrees that the three proposed outcomes are the correct ones. We would suggest that greater focus is placed on the “use resources sustainably” outcome to support wider Government and International targets such as the United Nations 17 Sustainability Goals.

6. Do you see any opportunities within your sector for industry- led guidance to be produced to support this approach and how could it support you to deliver better?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
There are opportunities within the energy sector, for sustainable resource use in relation to the reuse of components, particularly end of life components. A good example is the disposal of blades from windfarms which will be a waste stream in future years across the UK and Europe. Waste management activities are common across the electricity networks businesses and the development of industry led guidance could be used for a number of common waste streams including scrap electrical equipment and used insulating oil. There is also the opportunity to share best practice within the hydro sector to prevent harm and to reduce the potential for accidents.

7. Do you understand the descriptions of the regulated activities in Annex 2?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we understand the descriptions of the regulated activities and agree that the table in Annex 2 highlights the regulated activities to be covered by the Integrated Authorisation Framework.

8. Do you agree that these are the right factors for SEPA to consider?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we support the four tiers of authorisation, with permitting being the highest level which covers the highest risk activities. We also support General Binding Rules (GBRs) automatically authorising low risk activity.

9. Do you agree that SEPA should consult on the guidance setting out the likely tier of authorisation for particular activities?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Do you agree that SEPA should consult on the guidance setting out the likely tier of authorisation for particular activities?
Yes, we agree that SEPA should consult on guidance for the likely tier of authorisation for particular activities.

10. Do you agree that standard rules will deliver the benefits we have set out?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, the introduction of standard rules should provide consistency within and across sectors and will allow applicants to review the requirements prior to application. It is also noted that there is the opportunity for bespoke rules, if required for particular situations. However, it is important that any standard rules applied do not go beyond the requirements of any existing permits or licence conditions.

11. Do you agree with the procedure for making standard rules?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, why not?
Yes, we agree that consultation should be undertaken as part of the process of making the new standard rules. We also agree that applicants should have the right to appeal against the inclusion of standard rules within an authorisation as standard rules may not be applicable in every particular case. Industry should have the opportunity to suggest activities for which standard rules could be developed, for example, scrap electrical equipment and used insulating oil.

12. Do you agree that SEPA and Scottish Ministers should have the ability to make GBRs?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree that both SEPA and Scottish Ministers should have the ability to make GBRs, and that any changes to these are subject to consultation beforehand.

13. Do you agree that all regulated activities should have an authorised person responsible for overall compliance and that this person should be named in a permit and registration?

If not why not?
We also understand the proposal that all regulated activities should have a named ‘authorised person’ and we agree that this ‘authorised person’ can include individuals, companies and partnerships. In practice, it is likely to be most practicable for the ‘authorised person’ to be the corporate entity responsible for the site, given the complex nature of ScottishPower’s projects. We would welcome further guidance on how the responsibilities of the ‘authorised person’ would operate for companies as the current wording of the consultation document seems to be focused more on individuals undertaking this role.

14. Do you think it is proportionate to require the person in control to be the person that notifies an activity in the notification tier?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree it should be the person in control who notifies an activity. However, as per our response to question 13, this is likely to be the company responsible for the process in question, rather than a particular natural person. In such circumstances, it will be for the organisation(s) to put in place the relevant procedures for ensuring the notification of an activity.

15. Do you agree that SEPA should include more than one person as the authorised person where appropriate?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, SEPA should include more than one person or organisation as the authorised person where appropriate. This could be an important consideration for construction sites and operational facilities where responsibility may be shared by more than one person or where contractors are involved in delivering specific parts of the project.

16. Do you have any views on how SEPA should decide if a person is in “control”?

Comments:
We would suggest a person is considered in ‘control’ based on their role in the activity, what influence they have and overall responsibility for the activity. We consider it important, both as respects health and safety and environmental risks, that there is clarity as to who is in control of an activity.

17. Question 17 – Do you think the core requirements set out here will deliver the right approach to FPP for the integrated authorisation framework?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, however we would welcome further clarity on how persons and companies will be assessed as technically competent. Whilst the list of competencies listed in 3.5.22 is relatively extensive, not all factors will be appropriate to the authorisation. It is important that the requirements are proportionate to the activity under consideration.

18. Do you think that the criteria set out above will achieve the stated purpose of the FPP test?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree that the proposed criteria are sufficient for a Fit and Proper Person (FPP) test. Guidance on the FPP test is welcome and we would expect SEPA to consult on the proposed FPP guidance in advance.

19. Do you agree with the proposed application processes?

Comments:
We have some concerns around the proposed application process. It is important that SEPA does not default without exception to a deemed refusal of the application if no decision has been made within the proposed determination period of 4 months. Whilst the right to appeal in such an event is an appropriate means to ensure the timely delivery of a decision, it is important that for more complex applications, the applicant can request for the determination period to be extended. Whilst 4 months seems a reasonable period to determine many applications, in our experience, complex applications will frequently take longer. We would expect flexibility within the process to recognise that these more complex applications will take longer to determine. In order to ensure that there is a deadline for decision making, we would suggest a backstop of 12 months, for a determination where an applicant has requested an extension. We would suggest that in appropriate cases, SEPA could issue staged consents, i.e. consents could be issued with additional information to be supplied at a later stage for approval. In order to secure approval under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, an integrated authorisation will be required from SEPA prior to the issuing of the Section 36 consent, however at this stage in the development of the scheme some details of the technology may not be fully known. Therefore to prevent an impasse in the development of schemes there would be benefits in SEPA being able to issue a conditional consent, so that the relevant development consent can be issued by Scottish Ministers. This process (of outline planning permission with reserved matters) works well within the planning system and we suggest that it could be similarly applied to this authorisation process.

20. Do you agree with the proposal to have a statutory determination period of four months for the majority of permit applications?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, what do you think the determination period should be?
Yes, we agree that a determination period of four months seems appropriate. However, as per our response to question 19, the four month period should not be an absolute cut off leading to a deemed refusal if no decision has been issued within the determination period. We would suggest that the applicant can request for determination period to be extended for complex applications.. In order to ensure that there is a deadline for decision making, we would suggest a backstop of 12 months, for a determination where an applicant has requested an extension

21. Should the legislation make a clear distinction for applications for “non-standard” activities?

Comments:
We would suggest that a distinction for “non-standard” activities could be achieved either by guidance or regulation.

22. What other alternative arrangements would you suggest for managing non-standard applications?

Comments:
We would suggest that SEPA should consider offering a bespoke advisory service to the more complex applications. This could be reflected in the costs of the more complex applications.

23. Do you agree with the proposals for variations?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, why not?
Yes, we agree with the proposals for variations.

24. Do you agree with the proposals for transfer?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, why not?
Yes, we agree with the proposals for transfer.

25. Do you agree with the proposals for surrender?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, why not?
Yes, we agree with the proposals for surrender. We agree that preventing environmental harm resulting from cessation of the activity; preventing ongoing harm arising as a result of the activity having been carried out; and restoring the environment affected, are the critical factors to be addressed in any permit surrender. We welcome consultation on guidance as to what will be included in authorisations for the surrender of a registration/permit.

26. Do you agree with the proposed approach to enforcement notices set out above?

Comments:
It is noted that the policy on, and use of, enforcement measures introduced under the Environmental Regulation (Enforcement Measures) (Scotland) Order 2015 and civil penalties is outside the scope of this consultation. Whilst agreeing with the proposed approach to enforcement notices as set out, we note the example, to allow “SEPA to specify preventative and remedial steps to be taken where …., or where harm has arisen, or might arise, even though the activity is being carried on in compliance with the conditions of an authorisation” We would welcome further clarification on this point in particular as this may suggest that the conditions in the authorisation may not be adequate / appropriate or that additional conditions may be required.

27. Do you agree a notice used in the way set out in 3.7.10 to 3.7.12 is a different type of notice and should be therefore be called something different, such as an improvement notice?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree that it appears to be a different type of notice in terms of timescales and formality. However, we would welcome clarity on the extent of the difference and how the removal of the notice would work in practice. We understand that notices would be used to set out improvements and if these are not met, then enforcement action would be taken, Therefore, in effect, this would function as an addition step, prior to before enforcement. Clarification on this point would be welcome.

28. What benefits and drawbacks do you foresee from SEPA using enforcement notices in the way set out at 3.7.10 to 3.7.12?

Comments:
We consider it beneficial for notices to be issued with improvement actions as this will provide the authorised persons with the opportunity to improve, as and when required, before elevation to enforcement. However, consistently poor performers should be targeted and timescales agreed to minimise any long term environmental harm.

29. Do you agree we should retain suspension notices for use in circumstances where we wish to suspend an activity in order to protect the environment, but the authorised person is not being ‘enforced’ against?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments
Yes, we agree that any suspension should be against the authorised activity and not the FPP. Circumstances outside of the applicant’s control may require activities to be suspended.

30. Do you agree SEPA should have the power to revoke authorisations in these circumstances?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, SEPA should have the power to revoke authorisations. However, these should only be used in exceptional circumstances where there is a serious breach of compliance or continual non-compliance and the operator is unable to satisfy SEPA as to the actions it is taking to prevent recurrence.

31. Do you agree that appeals against SEPA decisions should continue to be heard by the DPEA on behalf of Scottish Ministers?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
If not, which alternative body do you think should hear such appeals and why?
Yes, appeals should continue to the heard by the Scottish Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).

32. Do you have any views on the proposed policy principles for transitional arrangements?

Comments:
We agree with the transitional arrangements proposed. It is important that all existing authorisations transfer smoothly into the appropriate tier of authorisation and existing authorisations are integrated into the new framework without the need to re-apply or SEPA needing to issue a new authorisation.

33. Do you have any suggestions for how SEPA might manage the workload to implement integrated, and corporate, authorisations?

Comments:
Given that the highest risk activities will already be covered by PPC or CAR licences, it would be appropriate for SEPA to focus on the lower level tiers of authorisations. SEPA should seek to finalise the GBRs and standard rules as quickly as possible so that the existing authorisations can be transferred into the new IAF.

Part 4: Key features of the new framework for the public

34. Do you support SEPA having more flexibility in how information is made available to the public?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, people have a right to information about the environment. Given the use of ICT in many other public services, SEPA should make information available in a more user friendly way on their web-site.

35. Do you agree that a consistent, flexible and proportionate approach to public participation should be adopted?

Comments:
Public participation is an important factor in decision making that affects local communities. It is therefore appropriate for the public to be able to influence applications that will affect them. A consistent, flexible and proportionate approach to public participation is therefore required to allow the public to be able to engage in the process with confidence, particularly when a new single authorisation process is being put in place. It is considered that a consistent approach to engagement in the IAF process by communities should be pursued so that communities feel able to respond in a meaningful way and have confidence that their input is worthwhile.

36. Do you agree that the procedural arrangements for third party call-in under CAR should be extended to all regulated activities?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, it is appropriate for Scottish Ministers to have powers to ‘call-in’ any application particularly where there are significant issues of wider public interest, Ministers currently have such powers within the land-use planning process, where it is used albeit relatively infrequently. However, it is essential that call-ins are restricted to cases where there are clear public interest issues and the application/proposed decision meets a set of agreed criteria. Call-in powers should not be used in response to objectors seeking to frustrate decision making, or where objectors wish to further rehearse objections because they are unhappy with SEPA’s regulatory decision.