A temporary regulatory position statement for businesses regulated under COMAH has been developed for Scotland, for use during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
SEPA is committed to supporting everyone it regulates during the COVID-19 public health emergency, while maintaining protection of Scotland’s environment.
During this period, we expect regulated businesses to make their best endeavours to meet their environmental obligations and we are helping regulated businesses to adjust and adapt, recognising that resources and capacities are severely constrained.
The primary duty under the COMAH regulations is that an operator must take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for human health and the environment.
This temporary regulatory position for businesses is regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (“COMAH regulations”).
Despite the demanding circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for compliance with COMAH remains with operators, and generally there is no capacity within the COMAH Regulations for exemptions. As such, failure to comply with any of the requirements is a breach. However, the joint Competent Authorities (CAs) are acutely aware that we are in extraordinary times and will be pragmatic in using the tools available to us to regulate.
The flexibility within our enforcement frameworks allows us to do that, ensuring that decisions are pragmatic, proportionate and appropriate, and we will exercise this as necessary taking into account the difference between administrative breaches and breaches with a potential major accident hazard risk.
Our offices are now closed but our people and online services are available to support you. If you are concerned about maintaining compliance with any aspect of COMAH, please contact either the HSE inspector or SEPA officer for the establishment.