Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Recently Added Legislation


The Forestry (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2019

These Regulations create exemptions to the requirement to have permission from the forestry regulator, Scottish Ministers, in order to fell trees. This means you do not need permission in the circumstances described in the Regulations.

Current Legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of Land environmental legislation that may affect your business in Scotland. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

Agricultural Land (Removal of Surface Soil) Act 1953 (not available online)
Unless you have planning permission, makes it an offence to remove surface soil from agricultural land with the intention of selling it if the amount is more than five cubic yards in a three months.

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

In 2015, the Scottish Parliament passed the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act. This provides a range of new powers for communities to get involved in the ownership of land and other assets, in decision-making, and in securing better outcomes through public services. These powers include community right to buy, asset transfer requests and participation requests.

Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2000 SI 178

Introduces a scheme for remedying contaminated land, identifies 'special sites' enforced by SEPA, remediation notices and their contents, and sets out the information to be held on a contaminated land register maintained by local councils.

Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2005 SSI 658

Aligns the contaminated land regime with the water environment protection regime where contaminated land is a source of pollution.

Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Scotland) Regulations 2003 SSI 531

Requires anyone with custody or control of a crop being made into silage or of livestock slurry to carry out works and take steps to prevent pollution of the water environment. Fuel oil provisions revoked by 2006/133.

Designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2000 SSI 96

Designates the catchment and estuary of the River Ythan in Aberdeenshire as a nitrate vulnerable zone. Reinstates reference to the PEPFAA Code as statutory standard of good agricultural practice.

Designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2002 SSI 276

Designates further nitrate vulnerable zones in Scotland and requires maps of these zones to be available for public inspection.

Designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) (No. 2) Regulations 2002 SSI 546

Designates a further nitrate vulnerable zone in Scotland and requires maps of it to be available for public inspection.

The Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2008 SSI 298

Establish an action programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones which have been designated in Scotland. The regulations aim to protect the water environment against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.

The Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013 SSI 123

These regulations amend the 2008 Regulations by making the rules for storage of livestock manure apply to silage effluent as well. They specify changes to the maximum amount of nitrogen fertiliser for certain crops and to the field limit for nitrogen in organic manure where compost is used. They also change the periods when fertiliser cannot be applied to land.

The Designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2015

Revises the vulnerable zones and designates new areas as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. Requires the new areas to comply with the rules of the Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2008. Revokes the 2014 regulations.

Environment Act 1995

Establishes the Environment Agency and SEPA as the regulatory bodies for contaminated land, control of pollution, conservation or enhancement of the environment and fisheries.

Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009

Brings into force rules to force polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, species and their habitats and protected sites. The polluter does not have to be prosecuted first, so remedying the damage should be faster.

The Environmental Liability (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015

Amend the 2009 Regulations to include environmental damage to the marine environment.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Establishes in England, Scotland and Wales the structure and authority for waste management and control of emissions into the environment.

The Forestry (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2019

Creates exemptions to the requirement to have permission in order to fell trees.

Fur Farming (Prohibition) (Scotland) Act 2002

Bans keeping or breeding animals solely or mainly for their fur.

Landfill (Scotland) Regulations 2003 SSI 235

Amends the waste control regime to cover agricultural waste. Classifies landfill sites, details the permits needed to create and operate a landfill site, and the requirements for care after a site closes.

Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

Establishes rights to be on land for recreational, educational and some other purposes and cross land (right to roam) if rights are exercised responsibly. Also details how rural and crofting organisations can buy land they are connected with.

Mines (Notice of Abandonment) (Scotland) Regulations 1998 SI 1572 (S. 81)

Requires a mine operator to give notice of abandonment of a mine to SEPA at least six months before abandonment. Outlines the information that must be given to SEPA and published by the operator in a local newspaper.

Mink Keeping (Scotland) Order 2003 SSI 528

Bans keeping mink in Scotland except under licence and on any Scottish island (with some exceptions).

National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000

Establishes National Parks in Scotland, including setting up National Park Authorities, their powers, finances and management agreements between National Park Authority landowners or occupiers.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

Establishes Natural England as the main body responsible for conserving, enhancing and managing England's natural environment. It also covers biodiversity, pesticides harmful to wildlife and the protection of birds.

Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002

Makes it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a dog - eg fox and deer hunting - or for a landowner or occupier to knowingly allow another person to hunt a wild mammal with a dog, or to allow another person to use the dog to hunt a wild mammal.

Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act (Commencement) Order 2002 SSI 181

Confirms 1 August 2002 as the date when the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 came into force.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2007 SSI 179

Sets out measures for identifying and remedying radioactive contaminated land in Scotland, by extending the contaminated land regime set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 3240

Amends Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with harm or pollution of water caused by radioactive substances and identifying and remediating radioactive contaminated land.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 3240 Explanatory Memorandum (only available online) (Adobe PDF - 108KB)

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2009 SSI 202

Amends 2007/179 in terms of radioactive contaminated land (excludes land contaminated by nuclear sources). Empowers SEPA to determine if such land is "contaminated land" and amends the definition of 'substance' in 2007/179 and 2007/3240.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 SSI 2153

Amends 2007/179 and 2009/202 to change the definition of 'substance' to include radon and its decay products for both nuclear and non-nuclear incidents.

Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989 SI 1263

Sets conditions and precautions for agricultural use of sludge from sewage plants or septic tanks, and specifies what records must be kept.

Sludge (Use in Agriculture) (Amendment) Regulations 1990 SI 880

Amends 1989/1263 to clarify the ban on growing commercial food crops and selling crops grown on an agricultural unit that is part of a dedicated site applies where the concentration of certain metals in the soil exceeds permitted levels.

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