Expected To Lead To Higher Fines For Businesses
The Sentencing Council has published new guidelines for judges and magistrates to deal with environmental offences.
Covering a range of offences related to the disposal of waste mostly covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, the rules will be used in courts from 1 July 2014.
The introduction of the new guidelines is designed to ensure courts in England and Wales take a more consistent approach when dealing with environmental offences.
It is the first time that the Sentencing Council has provided guidelines for offences including fly-tipping, waste handling and pollution in relation to noise, smoke and dust.
The Sentencing Council believes that the guidelines will encourage magistrates to make greater use of the highest levels of fines. It states that financial penalties for lower level offences will remain largely unaffected but adds that fines for businesses will also be determined by their size.
The guidelines follow a public consultation in 2013 which took into account views from judges and magistrates, lawyers, environmental professionals and local authorities.
Following feedback during the consultation process, separate guidelines for offences committed by organisations and those committed by individuals have been provided.
Our experienced environmental lawyers work across a range of industries, providing specialist legal advice on a broad range of projects and investigations. See our Environmental Regulation page for more information.