Who We Are

ESS is a public sector body, set up as a non-ministerial office, independent of Scottish Government, and accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

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

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 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 Remit

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 cover all public authorities – including the Scottish Government and its agencies, as well organisations carrying out functions on behalf of public authorities.

Our Organisation

ESS is governed by a Chair and Board.

Our Board operates under Standing Orders and we have a Framework agreement with the Scottish Government.

Our Service Standards

ESS adheres to standards which set out clearly what our commitments to you are.

Video Transcript

0:00 ESS is a new independent body that has
0:03 been set up to help Scotland achieve
0:05 their highest environmental standards
0:07 and to ensure our environment is protected
0:11 the UK’s exit from the European Union
0:13 means that without ESS no one would be
0:17 checking or scrutinizing how
0:19 environmental law is being applied in
0:21 Scotland so ESS has been created to fill
0:25 this Gap and to ensure that Scotland’s
0:27 communities can enjoy the healthy
0:29 environment that they deserve
0:31 we’re fully independent of the Scottish
0:34 government and we’re accountable to the
0:36 Scottish Parliament
0:38 we’re going to seek to ensure all public
0:40 authorities comply with environmental
0:42 law including the Scottish government
0:44 and its agencies as well as those
0:46 organizations carrying out functions on
0:49 behalf of public bodies the
0:50 establishment of ESS comes at a crucial
0:53 time globally we’re facing a significant
0:55 environmental challenge the
0:58 intergovernmental panel on climate
1:00 change has made clear the threats and
1:03 heightened risk that the climate
1:05 emergency poses to people and planetary
1:08 health
1:09 in Scotland the Scottish government has
1:12 declared twin crises of climate change
1:14 and biodiversity loss
1:17 we’re going to play a crucial role in
1:20 the response by scrutinizing compliance
1:22 with environmental law the effectiveness
1:25 of these laws and how they are
1:27 implemented
1:29 the continuity act who sets us up places
1:31 a duty on public authorities to
1:34 cooperate with us and provides ESS with
1:36 a range of powers to ensure we can
1:38 fulfill our role
1:41 the first annual report provides an
1:43 overview of our activities and progress
1:45 in our first six months since our launch
1:48 on the 1st of October 2021.

Our Mission, Vision, Value and Principles

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

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 Values that we will strive to be judged by

We are independent.

We are transparent.

We are trusted.

We are effective.

Our Vision

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.

Our Principles that will guide the way we work

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.

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