Sentencing Proposals ‘A Clear Warning On Environmental Compliance’

Companies Urged To Act Following Release Of New Draft Guidelines


By Rob Dixon

Proposals outlining new tougher sentencing guidelines in relation to breaches of environmental regulations are a “clear warning” to businesses of the importance of ensuring they are complying with such legislation, according to a legal expert.

The Sentencing Council has published new draft guidelines in relation to how offenders who breach environmental legislation should be sentenced, with the ultimate aim of guaranteeing that fines match the seriousness of an offence and that a consistent approach is taken in such cases.

Offences covered by the guidance include those related to the disposal of waste and rubbish covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Consultation on the draft sentencing guidelines is running from now until June 6th, with the Sentencing Council seeking the views of the public, those in the criminal justice system and environmental professions.

The publication of the guidelines has been welcomed by David Egan, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, who specialises in advising businesses on environmental regulation compliance and is an active member of the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA).

Commenting on the new proposals, he said: “These draft sentencing guidelines are a clear indication of how authorities are keen to not only implement a consistent approach to such issues, but also ensure that such breaches of regulation are treated with the utmost seriousness.

“Environmental compliance is an area which directors and business owners cannot afford to underestimate or ignore, and this will be more important than ever should these new proposals for higher fines be introduced.

“This is undoubtedly a clear warning to businesses that they desperately need to have their houses in order when it comes to environmental regulation and we would urge any companies with doubts or concerns over their responsibilities to seek legal advice as soon as possible.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to Environmental work