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).

Video Transcript

0:00 hello my name is ingrid wallace and i
0:02 work within the investigations team at
0:04 environmental standards scotland in this
0:07 short video i will demonstrate how you
0:09 can submit a representation
0:11 firstly you need to go to the ess
0:14 website page as you will see there are a
0:17 number of tabs along the top
0:20 and you need to choose the how to raise
0:22 a concern tab
0:24 if you click on this tab a new page will
0:26 load
0:27 here you will find some key information
0:30 relating to our processes to open the
0:32 electronic form click on the hour
0:35 representation form link and a word
0:38 document should automatically open
0:41 once the representation form is open you
0:44 will see that it comprises three main
0:46 sections
0:48 the first offers some explanatory text
0:51 on representations
0:53 and our wider remit
0:55 if you are unsure if your concern
0:57 relates to a public authority
1:00 or whether it relates to non-compliance
1:02 or ineffective environmental law
1:05 then please contact us as we can offer
1:07 assistance
1:09 the second is the actual form itself
1:13 this is where you are required to
1:14 complete information regarding your
1:17 concern
1:19 for example the relevant public
1:21 authority
1:22 whether you have already raised your
1:24 concerns with the public authority
1:27 the nature or subject area of your
1:30 concern
1:31 and any supporting documents or evidence
1:33 that you may have
1:35 we normally expect that the relevant
1:38 public authority will have had the
1:40 opportunity to respond to your concerns
1:43 before you contact us
1:45 at this stage we also request personal
1:47 details from you
1:49 to allow an officer to make contact to
1:52 discuss your form in more detail
1:54 to clarify or request further
1:56 information if required
1:59 to offer progress updates or to provide
2:02 a final decision
2:05 lastly the third is where you’re asked
2:07 to sign a declaration
2:10 that the information you have provided
2:12 is accurate
2:13 and that you are happy for ess to hold
2:16 and share your information
2:18 with the relevant public authority
2:21 if you’re concerned in any way about us
2:24 sharing your details please contact us
2:26 to discuss
2:28 we are aware that it can take a lot of
2:30 time and organization to pull together
2:33 the information required
2:35 please be assured that we are here to
2:37 help you with this task and will gather
2:40 the relevant information from public
2:42 authorities to support our investigation
2:44 process should you have any questions or
2:47 would like further information on how to
2:50 make a representation
2:51 please do not hesitate to contact us
2:55 alternatively you may also wish to visit
2:58 the frequently asked questions section
3:00 on our website thank you for taking the
3:03 time to listen to this short video i
3:05 hope you found it useful

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 and our staff would be happy to assist you.

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