ESOS update – non-compliant companies under investigation

An ESOS enforcement team has been set up by the Environment Agency and the other regional regulators to investigate an estimated 1,700 companies that are believed to be obligated, but do not appear on the dataset updated yesterday (26/07/2016). As outlined in a previous post, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme came into force two years ago, but despite a number of deadline extensions, significant numbers of companies do not appear to have notified the regulators that have either carried out … Continued

Waste crime punished with Criminal Behaviour Order

A Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) has been used, apparently for the first time in this application, to prevent waste crime. Taunton Crown Court awarded the order, along with a 150 hour community service order and financial penalty of £2,500 towards costs, against a builder convicted of transporting, depositing and transferring waste illegally in Somerset. Whilst this sentence may seem, at first glance, to be quite lenient, in fact the reverse is true. A CBO one of the sanctions set out … Continued

Environmental crimes attract significant fines

For many years, the sentencing of environmental crimes has been a contentious issue. So much so that in July 2014 the Sentencing Council issued guidelines for courts to help apply a framework to the issuing of penalties in a bid to both improve consistency and create a suitable level of deterrence. Recent cases appear to show that consistency is now being acheived and the, for some shocking, level of fines may well bring about the deterrence effect. What are the … Continued

Waste offences tackled by SEPA – report on enforcement action

Last week (14th January), SEPA shone a spotlight on their work to combat waste offences as they published their Enforcement Report for the period 1 April 2014 -31 March 2015. The 27 pages make interesting reading about the fight against environmental crime in Scotland. During the period, the Agency issued 141 final warning letters and served 116 Statutory Notices to organisations or individuals operating outside the law with 36 cases sent to the Procurator Fiscal (PF) for possible prosecution. All … Continued

Operation Salamander – preventing waste crime

A much welcomed multi-agency task-force has been acting against waste crime and catching waste offenders in a small part of the UK. A combined Environment Agency, HMRC, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and local authority operation in three counties in the South-East of England stopped 71 vehicles carrying waste, of which 37% (26 vehicles) were found to be in breach of regulations. Although the press release refers to ‘duty of care’ offences, these presumably relate to non-registered carrying of waste. New requirements … Continued

Record fine for Thames Water

It may not be a Happy New Year for Thames Water! Following on from the Court of Appeal hearing in 2015 that saw their £250,000 fine for polluting a watercourse confirmed, the Environment Agency have announced a record £1,000,000 fine for a similar offence. You can read more about that hearing here. On 4 January 2016, His Honour Judge Bright QC, hearing the case in St. Albans Crown Court, fined them £1,000,000 with £18,113.08 costs and £120 victim surcharge for … Continued

New sentencing guidelines published

Following on from the 2014 publication of sentencing guidelines for environmental offences, the Sentencing Council yesterday (3 November 2015) published new guidelines to help courts deal with offences under Heath and Safety, Corporate Manslaughter, and Food Safety and Hygiene regimes. There has been longstanding criticism that penalties do not fit the crimes they are seeking to redress and that, accordingly, the deterrent factor is not high enough to effect a change in attitudes or behaviours. Part of the reasoning behind … Continued

Record Enforcement Undertaking accepted

The Environment Agency has accepted its largest enforcement undertaking to date – from HiPP UK – in respect of packaging waste breaches. Acknowledging it’s non-compliance with the regulations, HiPP offered payments totalling £414,960 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Woodland Trust and the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust. Enforcement undertakings (EU) offer an alternative to prosecution for companies who become aware that they are not complying with a small number of regulations and wish to correct this as soon as possible. … Continued

Definition of “portable” battery – consultation response

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the meaning of “portable” in the official guidance to the 2009 Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations. This definition had previously caused some problems as it relied on an ambiguous statement – a battery that “can be hand-carried by an average person without difficulty”.  The response confirms that the guidance will be amended to define a portable battery in terms of weight as being 4Kg or less. It is hoped that the change … Continued

Giving victims of environmental crime a voice

The EU Victims Directive came into force in 2012 and much has been done to implement it in terms of ‘standard’ crimes in the UK. It is now reported that the Environment Agency is preparing to introduce rights for environmental crime victims under the framework of the Directive. These rights are reported to include a means for those affected by environmental crimes to challenge authority decisions taken regarding crimes, particularly in respect of whether or not to prosecute those involved. However, … Continued