Greenhouse gases emitted by Scottish industry continue to fall, according to the latest annual mass pollutant releases published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The figures, published online in the 2017 Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI), show how the pollutants emitted by Scottish regulated businesses are changing as the country continues to move to a more sustainable, resource efficient Scotland. We place pressures on the Scottish environment in our daily lives, from dealing with our sewage and waste to the demand for goods like petrol, plastics, food and drink.

Scottish industry also puts pressures on the environment through emissions to the air and water environment and through waste management activities.

Greenhouse gas levels have reduced 57% since 2007 when 26 Megatonnes of pollutants were released. The 2017 total was 11 Megatonnes. The largest drop came in 2016, as Longannet power station was only operational for the first few months of the year. There was a further reduction of 6% (just under 1 Megatonne) in 2017 as the first full year with no emissions from the plant.

Generally, most pollutants decreased in 2017 from 2016 values or stayed marginally the same and the longer term trends mostly remain downward. Increases are mostly related to an increase in production or variations in combustion fuels. There were also 16 more sites reporting in 2017. From climate change to the circular economy, Scotland is driving globally ambitious, internationally recognised policy with a purpose. It’s policy that recognises the economic, as well as environmental, opportunity of a more sustainable, resource efficient Scotland.


Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, said: “The most successful countries in the 21st century will function within our planet’s means to support us. Through our regulatory strategy, One Plant Prosperity, SEPA is helping business grow sustainably while reducing their environmental burden. “While it’s encouraging to see greenhouse gases from Scottish industry at a ten-year low, we recognise further progress needs to be made. The data that the Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory holds is vital to helping us understand how these changes are impacting on our environment both directly and indirectly, ensuring Scotland can identify priority areas to reduce releases and track progress.”

SEPA regulates a wide range of industries and organisations whose activities generate emissions of greenhouse gases. Examples include industrial installations, large businesses, supermarkets, water companies, banks, local authorities and other private and public sector organisations who are high energy users.

All businesses that SEPA regulates in a sector use water, energy and raw materials to produce the products and services they sell. In doing so, they also create waste and emissions.

SEPA’s One Planet Prosperity strategy aims to help regulated businesses fully meet their compliance obligations, – but also ‘go beyond’ compliance. This involves supporting businesses and sectors to implement successful innovation to grow in a sustainable way and reduce their impact on the environment.


The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email

In association with . . .



A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms.



Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.



The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.



A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs.


The Conferderation of Passenger Transport - Scotland

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is recognised by Government as the voice of the bus and coach industry, and the focus for consultation on national and international legislation, local regulations, operational practices and engineering standards.