News

From Excellent to Very Poor: SEPAs Ratings for Environmental Compliance

Over 90% of businesses in Scotland comply with environmental regulations according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

SEPA figures

Orkney

This is the map from SEPA of their rating for businesses in Orkney and their compliance with environmental regulations. The red is very poor. Green is excellent.

SEPA Map Orkney compliance

Key to symbols SEPA Orkney

Sanday Drying Beds, Sanday,Storage and Treatment of Waste  – very poor

No site monitoring taking place. No technically competent person. Upgrades have not taken place. Unauthorised waste types onsite. Site unsecured. The operator has agreed an improvement plan to improve waste data returns, put in place updated site working plans and appoint a technical person. Steps are being taken to improve site security.

Lunnon Quarry, Pierowall, Westray, Storage and Treatment of Waste – very poor.

No site monitoring taking place. No technically competent person. Upgrades have not taken place. No wastes have been removed from site. The operator has agreed an improvement plan to improve waste data returns, put in place updated site working plans, reinstate site monitoring and appoint a technically competent person for the site.

Big Breck Quarry, Twatt, Storage and Treatment of Waste – very poor

Routine site monitoring not established. No technically competent person. Upgrades have not taken place. No wastes removed from site. The operator has agreed an improvement plan to improve waste data returns, put in place updated site working plans, reinstate site monitoring and appoint a technically competent person for the site.

Listed under poor are 5 sites in Orkney. Three are in aquaculture: Chalmers Hope, MCFF at Bring Deeps, Bring Head MCFF at Bring Deeps and Veantro W Bay MCFF at Shapinsay. Orphir Community School has a poor rating for public  water and waste water.Orkney Brewery also has a poor rating

Most of the businesses in Orkney, as can been seen on the map, were rated as excellent these included several aquaculture sites, OIC Bossack Landfill, Kirkwall sewage network and smaller concerns such as Launderama in Kirkwall and Skara Brae Visitor Centre.

To see all the results visit SEPA.

The Results for Scotland

First the Good News

Industries which are in the 90% and over compliance with SEPAs environmental regulations are in the brewing and distilling sector. Particular mention should be made of Glasgow-based Tennent Caledonian. They  invested £14m in reducing the environment impact of their business. This included:an anaerobic digestion plant with carbon capture, improving wastewater quality by 80% and  generating bio-gas which contributes 5% of the site’s energy needs.

Martin Doogan, Group Engineering Manager at C&C (owners of Tennent Caledonian Breweries), said:

“We’re extremely pleased to receive an ‘Excellent’ rating for environmental compliance for the third year in a row – reflecting Tennent’s long-term commitment to sustainability.

Martin Doogan, Group Engineering Manager at C&C and Terry A'Hearn, SEPA Chief Executive

Martin Doogan, Group Engineering Manager at C&C (owners of Tennent Caledonian Breweries) and Terry A’Hearn, SEPA Chief Executive

He continued:

“Six months ago we announced the most ambitious environmental initiatives in the company’s history, undertaking significant investment to build an anaerobic digestion plant and carbon capture capability at Wellpark, alongside a pledge to completely eradicate plastics from our consumer packaging as well as becoming carbon neutral and sourcing all of our energy from renewables in the next five years.

“As Scotland’s oldest business and largest brewery, we can’t be complacent, continuing to identify innovative ways to further minimise our environmental impact-sustainability is firmly embedded at the core of everything we do. It is our intention to deliver lasting positive change so we’re proud that all of the hard work undertaken so far continues to see our environmental compliance rated as ‘Excellent’ by SEPA.”

And now for the bad news.

ExxonMobil Chemical Limited, the operator of the Fife Ethylene Plant, achieved a ‘Poor’ Compliance Assessment Scheme rating for the second year in a row due to flaring at the Fife site during 2018.

INEOS FPS Limited’s (Forties Pipeline) site in Grangemouth, rated as unsatisfactory since 2014, and was rated as ‘Very Poor’ in 2017 and again in 2018.

ExxonMobil Chemical Limited, Mossmorran

ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd was rated as ‘Poor’ in 2018, with SEPA working to address the root causes of ‘unacceptable’ flaring.  In April 2018, SEPA served Final Warning Letters due to ‘preventable and unacceptable’ unplanned flaring in 2017 to both operators at the Mossmorran Complex in Fife.  Communities experienced further unplanned flaring from ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd in October 2017, March 2018 and again in May 2018.

ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd  is currently the subject of a  live regulatory investigation.  It has announced  a £140 million investment. Noise reducing flare tips will be installed this year  and by Shell U.K. Limited in 2021.

INEOS FPS, Grangemouth

INEOS FPS Limited’s (Forties Pipeline) site in Grangemouth was rated as unsatisfactory since 2014 and ‘Very Poor’ in 2017 and again in 2018.

Operated by BP Exploration until October 2017, the site was unsatisfactory due to flaring and the unavailability of ground flares at the installation, in breach of Permit Conditions as well as breaches of the effluent consent.

A Final Warning Letter was issued by SEPA in 2018. SEPA will shortly issue permit variations requiring the installation of new ground flare systems by January 2022.

Unplanned Flaring At Mossmorran

Last Thursday, 13th of February,  there was ‘unplanned flaring’ during ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd’s Mossmorran restart.

Chris Dailly, SEPA's Head of Environmental PerformanceResponding at the time Chris Dailly, SEPA’s Head of Environmental Performance, said:

“Thursday’s unplanned flaring during ExxonMobil Chemical’s restart at Mossmorran is a real reminder of why short and medium term solutions are critical to addressing the root causes of unacceptable flaring.

“While elevated flaring is a possibility during restart it was not expected last night.  Once again we heard clearly and powerfully the very real concerns and frustrations of local communities.

“We think it’s important to be clear on the causes of the flaring in the final stage of this restart.  We know people also want information on our monitoring.  Since last year SEPA has had monitoring points around the site.  Initial data suggests that whilst clearly there was elevated flaring, there was no breach of UK Air Quality Standard.  We publish the data we collect on a weekly basis and now some 28 detailed reports are available.

“We accept that flaring is causing people worry, anxiety and stress.  That’s why our firm focus is on addressing the root-causes of ‘unacceptable flaring’ and making flaring an exception rather than routine, which is currently not the case. The short and medium-term investment we’re requiring the operators to make, from noise reducing flare tips in 2020 and 2021 and planning, designing then delivering new ground flare capacity will make a real difference to local communities.”

“We appreciate communities want action, not words which is why we’re focused on rapid conclusion of regulatory investigation to an evidential standard and to the next steps in driving systemic change at Mossmorran.  We’ll provide more information as quickly as possible and would encourage anyone impacted to report any concerns at www.sepa.org.uk/report so these are formally reviewed and considered by specialist officers.“

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