THE CHIEF executive of Scotland’s public body responsible for protecting the environment has quit amid “conduct allegations”.

Terry A’Hearn has today stepped down from the chief executive role of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa).

Bob Downes, the chairman of Sepa, confirmed the move.

He said: “Following conduct allegations, Terry A’Hearn has stepped down and left his position.

“Sepa has a clear code of conduct and takes conduct allegations very seriously indeed.

READ MORE: Sepa: Hackers targeted Scottish Government agency a second time after £21m Christmas ransomeware attack

“In order to protect anonymity, Sepa is unable to comment further.”

Mr. Downes confirmed that recruitment for a new chief executive would shortly commence.

Chief officer Jo Green has been named as acting chief executive in the interim, supported by Sepa’s agency management team.

Sepa faced turmoil in December 2020 when around 1.2GB of data, amounting to at least 4,000 files, was stolen in the ransomware attack.

An investigation by Police Scotland concluded it likely that an international serious organised crime group was responsible for the extortion attempt.