The Environment Agency (EA) is now using a new civil sanctions system as an alternative to instigating court action against those found guilty of breaching environmental law. (The EA will also continue to prosecute via the courts)
From January 4 2011, the EA began using powers to impose civil sanctions as well as all of its current criminal authority.
There are six sanctions that the EA will be able to impose:
1. Fixed monetary penalty. - This is a low level fine - £100 for an individual and £300 for a. corporate body
2. Variable monetary penalty. - This is for more serious offences. The penalty must be proportionate to the offence and cannot exceed £250,000.
3. Compliance notice. - This is a written notice that requires the offender to comply with the law within a specified period of time.
4. Restoration notice. -This is a written notice which requires the offender to take steps, within a specified timeframe, to restore, as far as is possible, damage done as a result of the breach of environmental law.
5. Stop notice. - This is a written notice which prohibits the offender from carrying out an activity that is causing, or which is at risk of causing, serious harm to human health or the environment.
6. Enforcement undertaking. - Where an offender offers to take steps to make amends for its non-compliance, the EA will be able to accept a written undertaking from the offender that it will take such steps. This will be legally binding.
If the EA decides to take any action against you, it will issue a “notice of intent” to impose the sanction. The notice will state the grounds for the sanction and then offenders will be given 28 days to appeal the notice. If after the offender’s appeal the EA decides to go ahead with the sanction, the Offender will receive a final notice.
If you would like to discuss the implications this new legislation may have, please call us on 0870 850 3074 and one of our team will be able to help you.