Spin Doctors muzzle SEPA

According to internal documents obtained by the Sunday Herald, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) completely rewrote a draft news release after circulating it to ministerial media officials.

One accusation - that farmers' leaders were being "misleading" - was left out in favour of comments about the key role of agriculture in protecting the environment.

Environmentalists have since accused SEPA of being "muzzled" by ministers so not to offend the powerful farming lobby - an accusation denied by both SEPA and the Scottish government.

Emails disclosing communications with the former Scottish Executive were released by SEPA last week after an investigation by the Scottish Information Commissioner. The Sunday Herald requested the documents under Freedom of Information laws in August 2006.

Spin doctors ‘muzzled’ green watchdog (The Herald, 3 February, 2008)