Panel, Board Members and Attendees

Minutes of the meeting of the Environmental Standards Scotland International Advisory Panel held on Wednesday 28 February 2024, 14:00 – 16:00

Boardroom, Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5HD, and via Microsoft Teams

Annalisa Savaresi (AS), Chair*
David Martin (DM)*
Michael Nicholson (MN)*
Darragh Page (DP)*
Joanne Scott (JS)*
Stefan Sipka (SS)*

ESS Team:
Mark Roberts (MR), CEO
Neil Langhorn (NL), Head of Strategy and Analysis
Jamie McGrandles (JMcG), Head of Investigations, Standards and Compliance
Charlotte Lowe (CL), Governance Lead (Minutes)

Board members:
Jim Martin (JM), ESS Chair
Paul McAleavey (PM)*


*via Microsoft Teams


1. Welcome and declaration of interests

The Chair welcomed Panel members and attendees to the first meeting of ESS’ International Advisory Panel (‘the Panel’), established to provide insight on keeping pace with European environmental legislation and policy, and international developments. The Chair led a round of introduction and the Panel confirmed that there were no declarations of interest.

2. Introduction to ESS

MR presented an introduction to the work of ESS, highlighting the importance of the keeping pace perspective throughout ESS’ monitoring and investigatory functions. The Panel discussed:

  • ESS’ remit in relation to bodies such as SEPA
  • the distinction between ESS’ proactive and reactive work
  • sources of ESS’ reactive work and engagement with stakeholders
  • ESS’ enforcement tools and examples of their use

3. Terms of Reference

MR introduced the draft Terms of Reference for the Panel, noting the importance of a broad remit to allow varied and open discussions to feed into the formal work of the Board. In discussion, the Panel considered how it could be of most use to the work of ESS, and agreed the Terms of Reference subject to a minor change in tone.

4. Is the UK diverging from European environmental policy?

MN presented to the Panel on the topic of the UK’s divergence from European environmental policy, highlighting the work of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) in this area. The Panel discussed:

  • types of divergence, i.e. not implementing new policy vs weakening existing policy
  • product standards and interactions between internal market and environmental legal bases
  • future plans and sources for IEEP’s work
  • tracking decisions and targets across the European Commission

5. Perspectives from around the table

The Panel had an open discussion regarding relevant streams of work and where the Panel can best add value. Topics for discussion included:

  • the European Green Deal and potential implications of the forthcoming European Parliament elections
  • the Aarhus Convention and access to justice
  • areas of policy development including packaging and waste, agriculture and soil monitoring
  • the work of the EFTA Surveillance Authority in monitoring European Economic Area compliance and keeping pace with the EU
  • relevant resources and networks, and how best to draw on these

6. Future meetings

The Panel discussed future meeting dates and agreed to convene in the autumn following the European Parliament elections.

7. Any other business

There was no other business to consider.

Minutes approved

Minutes subject to approval at the next meeting

Annalisa Savaresi
Chair, Environmental Standards Scotland International Advisory Panel

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