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Issue 3, 2009
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Environmental enforcement in the UK

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In the UK, the Environment Agency is responsible for enforcement of environmental legislation and offences committed under such laws and regulations. Under the current regime, if deemed serious enough, offenders are taken to court. In the past eight years, there have been ∼1600 cases (including approximately 800 prosecutions) per year with 61% being for illegal disposal of wastes and a further 26% being for water pollution incidents. The level of fine has been relatively small at around £6700 per conviction for water offences and £3700 for waste offences. This is possibly due to a lack of awareness of the damage caused in environmental offending by the courts. New legislation in the form of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 is likely to change the way offences are assessed and treated by the Agency and a proportion of cases will be dealt with by the Agency itself, with appeals being handled by a Tribunal and only the most serious cases going to the criminal courts. The efficacy of this approach has yet to be tested in the UK but may speed up the process and lead to more appropriate sanctions being levied.

Graphical abstract: Environmental enforcement in the UK

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Jun 2008, accepted on 06 Jan 2009 and first published on 28 Jan 2009

Article type: Focus
DOI: 10.1039/B810288K
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2009,11, 470-474

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    Environmental enforcement in the UK

    D. Stott, J. Environ. Monit., 2009, 11, 470
    DOI: 10.1039/B810288K

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