Not all businesses operating under environmental regulations are aware that recent legislation has enabled environmental regulators to decide not to prosecute certain environmental offences, if the regulator feels able to accept ‘enforcement undertakings’ as an alternative.
The Environment Agency’s ability to accept Enforcement Undertakings was extended in 2015 to a far wider range of offences. The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for suitable cases to swiftly restore the environment, improve practices of the offending company and avoid longer criminal court cases. However prosecutions will still be taken, particularly in the most serious cases.
If you are responsible for a pollution incident, the first thing that you must do is report it to the Environment Agency. The sooner this is done, the less damage is likely to occur. By acting quickly to take control of environmental non-compliance a company may be able to avoid the risk of prosecution, reputational harm, legal costs, higher penalties and raised insurance costs, while also building trust and providing environmental improvements.
Tees Rivers Trust is well placed to facilitate environmental repair, tidying up aquatic, urban and brownfield habitats and restoring them to good condition and is ready to offer specialist advice and assistance to individuals and companies to ensure that the best outcomes arise from a bad situation.
To discuss an Enforcement Undertaking or for any other information and advice, please call Ben Lamb.