North East MSP Mike Rumbles has today slammed the Scottish Government for allowing a leading compliance officer at SEPA to jump ship and take up a leading role in the salmon farming industry.
Reports today indicate that the former Chief Officer for Compliance and Beyond at SEPA, who had a key role in developing new regulation for the salmon farming industry is set to become the director of sustainability at the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO).
Mr Rumbles said:
“The Scottish Government clearly have no idea what is going on at SEPA.
“The watchdog has been widely criticised by environmental organisations and last week the Scottish Parliament passed a Liberal Democrat amendment making it clear that the ‘regulatory status quo for salmon farming is not an option’. Now we find out that there is a revolving door for officials to take up senior posts in industry.
“This is not about a single case. I am appalled that the Scottish Government has not put in place tighter restrictions to prevent industry gaining an unfair advantage by poaching top level civil servants.
“It is time the Scottish Government looked again at the contractual obligations of senior regulators.”
Notes to editors:
Reporting on this story from the Ferret can be found [theferret.scot/fish-farm-watchdog-joins-industry/]here
The Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee report on salmon farming stated:
“The Committee is not convinced SEPA (or any other agency) is effectively monitoring the environmental impact of salmon fisheries. The Committee is also not convinced that the regulations, protocols and options for enforcement and prosecution for the sector are appropriate, and being appropriately deployed.”
The Amendment passed by the Scottish Parliament on 13th September 2018 stated:
S5M-13876.2 Mike Rumbles - As an amendment to motion S5M-13876 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Celebrating Scotland’s Food and Drink Success Story), insert at end "; recognises the reputation and quality of Scottish farmed salmon; notes however the published concerns of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee regarding the environmental impact of salmon farming in Scotland, and agrees with its finding that the regulatory status quo is not an option."
Mr Rumbles has submitted a series of questions to the Scottish Government on this issue:
- To ask the Scottish Government what is its response to the appointment of a former SEPA compliance officer to the post of director of sustainability at the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation.
- To ask the Scottish Government what its response is reported concerns regarding the recruitment of former regulators into industry, and what action it takes and contractual arrangements it has in place to prevent (a) conflicts of interest arising and (b) the new employers being given an unfair advantage from hiring the former regulators..
- To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the effectiveness of the powers SEPA has to available to warn, censure and penalise polluters and other environmental offenders.