Our Casework

Environmental Standards Scotland undertakes investigations into public authorities’ compliance with, and the effectiveness of, environmental law.

Before deciding to investigate, we may have to carry out detailed enquiries to understand the nature of the issue and the grounds for ESS’ involvement. We will then assess whether matters can be appropriately resolved by agreement with the public authorities and without recourse to our formal enforcement powers. These enquiries and assessments fall under what we call our ‘pre-investigation’ work.

Where we have decided to investigate a matter of concern we will add this to our forward programme of work, setting out the broad issues that we expect to be investigating and the relevant timescales. Our approach to prioritising and undertaking these investigations is laid out in section 5 of our Strategic Plan.

This page sets out the nature of the matters we are currently working on, which includes our completed and live investigations and our pre-investigation casework.

To raise an issue with us that you think we should investigate, please see our page on How to Raise a Concern.

Completed Investigations

Investigation Summary More information
Air quality in Scotland An investigation into the Scottish Government's plans and approach to ensuring future compliance with legal limits on nitrogen dioxide levels. Summary Report - Available here

Full Report
- Available here

- Available here

Live Investigations

Investigation Summary More information
Climate change delivery An investigation into the systems in place to support local authorities in the delivery of climate change targets. Full details available here

Pre-Investigation Casework

Pre-investigation Summary Status
Use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices Consideration of the licencing and enforcement regimes in respect of the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices in the marine environment. Pre-investigation enquiries concluded – informal resolution achieved with Marine Scotland

Summary Report - Available here

Full Report - Available here

Local Authority climate change reporting Consideration of the effectiveness and implementation of local authorities’ climate change responsibilities. Pre-investigation enquiries concluded – moved to investigation
Licencing and removal of weirs Consideration of the licencing and enforcement regimes in respect of redundant weirs and structures in Scottish rivers. Pre-investigation enquiries concluded – case will be subject to ongoing monitoring

Summary Report - Available here

Ramsar site protection Consideration of the effectiveness of the site protection system in respect of ‘Ramsar’ sites (wetland sites of international importance) in Scotland. Pre-investigation enquiries concluded – case will be subject to ongoing monitoring

Summary Report - Available here

Access to Environmental Justice Consideration of Scotland’s implementation of the requirements of the Aarhus Convention in respect of access to justice in environmental matters. Under consideration

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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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