How to Raise a Concern


Our function and focus is on improving public authorities’ compliance with environmental law and the effectiveness of environmental law itself. One of the ways in which we carry out this role is to investigate representations made to us concerning:

• whether a public authority is failing (or has failed) to comply with environmental law; and
• the effectiveness of environmental law or of how it is (or has been) implemented or applied.

Raising your concerns with us

We can accept and will consider from anyone (free of charge) any representation relating to:

  • a public authority not complying with environmental law;
  • environmental law not being implemented or applied properly; or
  • the effectiveness of environmental laws.

If you have any concerns about how public authorities discharge their environmental law responsibilities or the effectiveness of environmental law itself, please complete our representation form either by:

Further information on our role and assistance in completing the form can be found:

If your representation does not relate to environmental law, we will not be able to investigate it because it falls outside the scope of our role. However, we may be able to advise you on what you could do next (for example, whether you could contact a different body with your concerns).



Useful definitions

Representation is the description used in our governing legislation for any instance of concern raised with us about how public authorities discharge their environmental law responsibilities or the effectiveness of environmental law itself.

Public authority means a person carrying out any function of a public nature.

Compliance relates to whether or not a public authority is taking proper account of environmental law when exercising its functions or is acting in a way that is contrary to (or incompatible with) environmental law.

Environmental law means any law which includes provisions mainly about the environment and environmental protection.

Environmental protection means:

(a) protecting, maintaining, restoring or improving the quality of the environment:
(b) preventing, mitigating, minimising or remedying environmental harm caused by human activities; and
(c) monitoring, considering, assessing, recording, reporting on or managing data on anything relating to (a) and (b).

The effectiveness of environmental law relates to whether the law is achieving its intended effect in protecting the environment and contributing to our international obligations relating to environmental protections.

Next steps

We normally do not take action until the relevant public authority has had the opportunity to respond to your concerns or you have tried to resolve your concerns through other available mechanisms.

It is also important to understand that we are not an appeal or complaints body for individual decisions taken by public authorities in the exercise of their regulatory functions in relation to a particular person or case (for example, a decision on an application for a licence or a decision on regulatory enforcement in a specific case).

Whatever action we do take in response to your representation, we will write to you setting out the reasons for this and provide as much further assistance as we can, which may include signposting you to other bodies that may be able to help. We may use the information you provide but we will not share your personal information without obtaining prior consent from you and you can tell us at any time if you wish to withdraw your representation.

Contacting us

If you are unclear on our role or are having difficulties using our service, please do not hesitate to contact us at and our staff would be happy to assist you.

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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:

Environmental Standards Scotland respects your privacy and will not disclose your personal data to a third party without your consent unless legally required to do so. We will process any personal data that may be collected from you for the purpose of fulfilling your enquiry and maintaining records. To find out more, please view our privacy policy.

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