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What we do at

We are a public sector body, set up as a non-ministerial office, independent of Scottish Government, and accountable to the Scottish Parliament to ensure environmental laws and standards are adhered to in Scotland. Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) replaces the European Union’s scrutiny and enforcement role after Brexit.

An introduction to the role and remit of ESS with our Chair Jim Martin.

Our mission

Our mission at ESS is to ensure Scotland’s environmental laws and standards are complied with, and their effectiveness improved to achieve Scotland’s ambitious targets for the environment, nature and climate change.

We cover a broad range of environmental law, including all aspects of environmental protection and harm, particularly in relation to human beings and their enjoyment of the environment.

Two children playing in the forest, near a stream. They are dressed for summer.
Photo of Mark Roberts - ESS Chief Executive

“Scotland has a wide range of environmental laws and these laws are critically important for the environment. They have to work and they have to work well. ESS has a role to ensure this.”

Mark Roberts

Chief Executive, Environmental Standards Scotland

Our vision

Our vision is that Scotland’s people and nature benefit from a high-quality environment and are protected from harm through the consistent application of effective environmental laws, which are recognised internationally as setting high standards.

A six-spot burnet moth, on a purple thistle blossom

Our role

Our role is to scrutinise, investigate and secure improvements in public authorities’ compliance with environmental law, the effectiveness of environmental law, and the way it is being implemented and applied in Scotland.

We cover all public authorities, including the Scottish Government and its agencies, as well as organisations carrying out functions on behalf of public authorities.

A salmon farm

Our values

Our values – that we will strive to be judged by are:

  • we are independent
  • we are transparent
  • we are trusted
  • we are effective

A great place to work

We are a small but dedicated organisation focused on ensuring Scotland achieves the highest environmental standards. We are looking for skilled individuals who have a passion for improving those standards to join our multidisciplinary team. It’s an exciting time to join us as we have an important role to play in helping Scotland achieve its net zero targets and climate change ambition.

Roles within ESS

We have exciting roles in a variety of professions within ESS including data, policy, HR and corporate service as well as more technical roles in science and environmental law.

Our organisation is made up of three departments: Strategy and Analysis, Investigations and Corporate Services and Communications. Each department must work together seamlessly to fulfil our role and remit.

Flooded coastline, with a bench half submerged and the top of railings just visible

See our work

Have a look at the nature of the matters we work on by exploring our ongoing and completed casework page.

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Civil Service professions

Joining the Civil Service means you become part of a profession, working with like-minded colleagues with similar skills and interests. You’ll also have a range of opportunities to enhance and develop your skill set.

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Could job sharing be right for you?

The Civil Service is an equal opportunities employer that positively promotes all forms of flexible working, including job sharing.