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SEPA serves £85,700 of civil penalties during 2023

Date published: 28 December 2023

Enforcement operations

Civil penalties totalling £85,700 have been served by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in 2023 for breaches of environmental regulation.

They include 13 Fixed Monetary Penalties of either £300 or £600 for offences such as burning waste, breaches of water use licences, discharges of sewage effluent and failing to provide SEPA with copies of documents requested in a notice.

Also served this year were a £3,500 Variable Monetary Penalty for waste offences, and a £75,000 fine under F-gas regulations.

Jennifer Shearer, Head of Enforcement at SEPA, said:

“Civil penalties are a vital part of our enforcement toolkit, providing a deterrence to those who choose to ignore Scotland’s environmental regulations. Enforcement action is a key part of our job as a regulator, ensuring we disrupt and take action against those who harm the environment, communities and legitimate businesses.

“We have a range of enforcement tools available to us depending on the scale and impact of offending including disruption activities, partnership activity with other regulators and authorities, final warning letters, statutory notices, licence suspensions, fixed and variable monetary penalties and reports to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) We’re committed to being proportionate, consistent, accountable and transparent in our enforcement outcomes.”

Civil penalties

Civil penalties sit alongside other enforcement tools available to SEPA to use when appropriate in relation to environmental offending.

Details on all the FMPs and the VMP listed below are available on SEPA’s website.

Fixed Monetary Penalties (FMPs)

SEPA can issue FMPs for a specified offence - they are not available for all offences. FMPs are normally appropriate where an offence has not caused environmental harm or has caused minimal environmental harm with no lasting environmental effects or impacts on communities, for administrative offences and where little (if any) financial benefit arises from the offence.

FMPs in 2023:

Six for disposing of controlled waste by burning, £600 each:

  • George Steel Contract Services Limited, Falkirk
  • Stella’s Voice, Cranfield
  • Ian Robert Munro, Alness
  • The Good House Company Scotland Limited, Kinross
  • Bradley Morgan, Kinross
  • The Firm of D & J Thomson, Aberfeldy

Two for breach of a water use licence relating to discharges of surface water from a construction site, £600 each:

  • Bellway Homes Limited, Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Tough Construction Limited, Glasgow

Two for a discharge of sewage effluent to the water environment, £600 each:

  • Sands Caravan and Camping Limited, Wester Ross
  • Robert Main Ellen, Muir of Ord

One in each category as follows £300 each:

  • Anthony Barclay, Musselburgh - transporting controlled waste in the course of business, or otherwise with a view to profit, without a waste carrier licence.
  • GMR Henderson Builders Ltd, Wick – failure to complete waste transfer notes adequately.
  • Barry Bain, Inverness – failure to attend a compelled interview.

Variable Monetary Penalty (VMP)

VMPs are discretionary financial penalties which SEPA can impose for a relevant offence following an appropriate investigation.

  • James Roberts Marshall, Perth £3,500 for allowing controlled waste to be disposed of by burial when no waste management licence was in place authorising the activity. He was also required to pay SEPA costs of £1,050.  

Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015 (the F-Gas regulations 2015)

The F-gas regulations aim to reduce the use of HFC refrigerants, through better control of their containment in existing applications and their recovery for recycling or destruction. 

  • DSM Nutritional Products (UK) Limited, Dalry £75,000 for failing to provide a leakage detection system on equipment containing powerful greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. 


Notes to editor