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Not everyone who has been in environmental work as long as I have is given the opportunity to head up an organisation that can really make a difference.Tricia puts down to coincidence the recent predominance of women in top environmental posts,Yes, the glass ceiling does still exist in many places, BPI Adelaide but clearly it has gone in environmental organizations.But perhaps more important are the challenges ahead for Scotland’s environmental regulator.We are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful country which has relatively few problems.

pest and building inspectionsWe must not squander that heritage.Environmental issues should be put into the framework of sustainable development where economic, social and environmental issues are integrated.But we shouldn’t forget that it is the environment that underpins the ability of economic and social systems to function.SEPA will be devoting Board and management attention to using environmental outcomes as a way of measuring our effectiveness, as opposed to measuring activities.This is entirely in line with government plans for the public sector as set out in the Modernising Government documents.

We have the opportunity to be well in the forefront of that approach to doing our business, building on the strengths we already have.I am also keen to see the best aspects of private sector practice introduced into SEPA, if we are not already using them.SEPA is, of course, the environmental regulator in Scotland, licensing the wastes discharged to air, land and water.Our core business is to implement a wide range of legislation, but another key tool in doing this is to educate and influence.

The very fact that a pollution control officer goes into an organisation to discuss problems is starting to influence their thinking and actions.We also undertake more obvious activities such as seminars and partnership projects aimed at raising awareness and understanding of particular issues or problems.I will be working closely with SEPA’s Board and management team over the coming months to focus on the way forward for the organization.It will ensure, for example, that we will look carefully at all the options for our two senior level vacancies.