Prosecution of Environmental offences: Update

A key element for the effective management of legal risk in the field of environmental law is to have a robust compliance programme in place. However issues can still arise which leave business and landowners open to the risk of prosecution or other enforcement action by regulators.

This article explores some recent outcomes of prosecutions of environmental offences and considers one alternative to prosecution: enforcement undertakings

Environmental offences

A water company and its contractor has been fined a total of £933,000 following a conviction of polluting a waterway and ordered to pay the prosecutions costs. The offence occurred due to highly toxic chemicals being discharged into a brook which was a trout spawning ground which resulted in fish kill.

A waste operator has been sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment for operating a waste facility without a permit.

Another waste operator has been sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment following conviction for breaching an environmental permitting condition, conspiracy to defraud and acting as a company director while disqualified. This is the longest term of imprisonment imposed for an environmental offence to date.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.