News In Focus
SEPA waives application charges
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is to waive or restrict some of the fees it charges for the rest of 2008-09.
The move is aimed at saving Scottish businesses money. The environmental regulator will waive application fees for environmental permits, a move which will save over 2,000 businesses as much as £600,000 in total.
Other measures include restricting next year's fee increase to below the retail price index and investing £250,000 into local environmental clean-ups.
SEPA charges businesses for processing new applications for environmental permits. Permits set conditions to protect the environment and human health from the discharge of pollutants to air, water or land and cover a wide range of activities, including developments that potentially impact on the water environment, disposal of waste (e.g. to landfills), and industrial processes.
Charges range from an average of £450 for a development impacting on the water environment to £6,500 for an industrial process. These charges will be waived for private sector applicants until 31 March 2009.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Our Scottish Recovery Plan is designed to ensure all public sector activity supports economic development. The waiver of application fees by SEPA for the remainder of 2008-09 shows our public bodies are willing to do what they can to ensure our economy is well-positioned for recovery.”
SEPA chairman David Sigsworth added: "We hope our plans will make a positive contribution to the Scottish Government's economic recovery plan."