newsUK Polluters to Face Unlimited Fines to Protect Environment


17 Jul

UK Polluters to Face Unlimited Fines to Protect Environment

London – Environmental regulators in the United Kingdom will be able to charge polluters unlimited penalties for causing damage, the British Government has confirmed.

The current limit of £250,000 is to be scrapped following a consultation with “widespread public support”, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said. It means the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England can impose large penalties without having to go through lengthy criminal prosecutions.

Defra said the size of the penalties will be subject to sentencing guidelines and will take into account the extent of the pollution and degree of responsibility and harm, as well as the polluting company’s size and ability to pay.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey laid out her department’s intention to allow unlimited fines for polluting water companies in April, and this has now been expanded to include any environmental business, from energy and water companies to waste operators.

“We regularly prosecute companies and individuals through criminal proceedings, but these new powers will allow us to deliver penalties that are quicker and easier to enforce, even though the most serious cases will continue to go to court,” Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said.

Defra said future fines and penalties will be invested into a Water Restoration Fund, which will be used to improve water quality.

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