Environmental appeals

Last updated: 20 February 2018

You have the right to appeal if you've been affected by a decision made by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) or Scottish Water.

Appeals can cover:

  • pollution prevention and control
  • the water environment, such as rivers or lochs
  • waste management, including landfills and rubbish collection
  • radioactive substances
  • environmental impact assessments, including changes made to farms or farm land
  • private water supplies, such as a change to a water supply that affects your home or business

How to appeal

Download the environmental appeal form and guidance notes to appeal to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA).

In the form you should set out in full:

  • the subject of your appeal
  • the authority you're appealing against
  • the reasons for your appeal – you need to write a statement that explains your appeal

You'll also need to refer to the legislation that relates to your appeal. For example, if you want to make an appeal that relates to a decision about sewerage, you could refer to the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.

Legislation helps the DPEA make a decision about your appeal. You're more likely to succeed if you can show that current legislation supports your appeal.

Legislation covering SEPA or Scottish Water decisions includes:

Pollution prevention and control

Waste management


Contaminated land

Greenhouse gas emissions

Some of this legislation will contain a list of documents you must submit as part of an appeal. Some will also specify whether copies of the documents you submit should be sent to the authority you're appealing against. Check the legislation that applies to your appeal to make sure you comply with any requirements.

Visit the SEPA website for more information on environmental legislation and regulations.

The appeals process

Once you've filled in your form and included your documents, you need to send everything to the DPEA – their address and contact details are at the end of the appeal form.

If the person appointed to make a decision on your appeal has all the information they need, they will proceed to make their decision. You'll be told about the decision, and why the decision was made.

If the person making the decision doesn't have all the information they need, they may ask for:

  • an inspection of the site
  • more written submissions
  • a hearing session (a structured meeting)
  • an inquiry session (a more formal event similar to a court case)

Deadlines for submitting an environmental appeal

The time you have to make an appeal depends on the legislation your appeal relates to. Check the legislation to find out what your deadline is.