Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS)
is a new independent body set up to ensure the effectiveness of environmental law,
and prevent enforcement gaps arising from the UK leaving the European Union.
You can download a brief introduction to us and our work here:
Who We Are
Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) is a public sector body, set up as a non-ministerial office, independent of Scottish Government, and accountable to the Scottish Parliament.
We’ve been set up to ensure environmental laws and standards are adhered to in Scotland, replacing the European Union’s scrutiny and enforcement role after Brexit. Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) was established in law by the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021.
We’re led by a Chair and Board, have a Chief Executive and specialised team, and a main office based in Edinburgh. Our Board Members have significant experience in leading independent scrutiny organisations and particular expertise in European environmental law.
What We Do
We cover a broad range of environmental law, including all aspects of environmental protection and harm, particularly in relation human beings and their enjoyment of the environment.
Our role is to scrutinise, investigate and secure improvements in public authorities’ compliance with environmental law, the effectiveness of environmental law, and the way it is being implemented and applied in Scotland.
We cover all public authorities – including the Scottish Government and its agencies, as well organisations carrying out functions on behalf of public authorities.
We are a non-ministerial office, governed by a Chair and Board.
Our Board operates under Standing Orders and we have a Framework agreement with the Scottish Government.
Mission Statement & Vision
The Board has agreed a Mission Statement, a Vision and a set of values and principles that demonstrate what we hope to achieve and will guide the way that we will work.
Our Mission Statement is that:
We will ensure that Scotland’s environmental laws and standards are complied with, and their effectiveness improved to achieve Scotland’s ambitious targets for the environment, nature and climate change.
Our Vision is that:
Scotland’s people and nature benefit from a high quality environment and are protected from harm through the consistent application of effective environmental laws, which are recognised internationally as setting high standards.
Values & Principles
Our Values – that we will strive to be judged by are:
We are independent
We are transparent
We are trusted
We are effective
Our Principles – that will guide the way we work are:
We will target our efforts and resources where we can add most value – focusing where our contribution is needed most or will make most difference.
We will seek to resolve issues through agreement wherever possible – having recourse to our formal powers where we judge it is necessary to deliver the outcome expected.
We will be evidence driven – seeking a wide range of inputs and expertise to inform our work and to support our decisions and advice.
We will be open and transparent – keeping people informed about the progress of our work and providing opportunities to input to and influence it.
We will seek opportunities to work in partnership with others – working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that our collective efforts deliver benefits for environmental protection and enhancement.
Video of ESS Six Month Parliamentary Update Available
We recently gave an update to the Scottish Parliament about the work we have been involved in over the past...
ESS commissions review of impacts of antimicrobial resistance on Scotland’s environment
ESS is looking to commission a literature review on the impact(s) of antimicrobial resistance on Scotland’s environment, to help deliver...
How can we help you?
If you want to raise a formal concern over how environmental law is being applied by a public authority in Scotland, please see our pages on How to raise a concern.
For Freedom of Information and Subject Access requests, please see our Freedom of Information pages.
Otherwise, if you have a general query, please contact us by completing this form. If you are unable to send us a message through this form please leave a message on 0808 196 4000.
For media enquiries, please contact: