Conducting an investigation into environmental crime
Produced in partnership with Christopher Badger of 6 Pump Court
Conducting an investigation into environmental crime

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Christopher Badger of 6 Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conducting an investigation into environmental crime
  • Preventing further environmental damage
  • Strict liability
  • Harm caused
  • Mitigation
  • Obligations to report
  • Collection of evidence
  • Assisting the regulator with the investigation
  • Maintaining appropriate lines of communication
  • Conducting an internal investigation
  • More...

Environmental incidents often happen without warning and with significant consequences. It can be easy in those circumstances to fail to maintain a clear head about managing such an incident.

Managing an incident does not equate to being uncooperative with an investigation authority. In most cases, open and transparent cooperation will almost certainly be the best policy.

But proper preparation for a possible future environmental incident mandates that clear policies should be in place so that, when an incident does occur, appropriate resources are directed towards minimising an environmental harm, effective controlled communication with the regulator and the appropriate collection of evidence and subsequent analysis.

For information about the powers held by the regulators to investigate environmental crime, see Practice Notes:

  1. Environment Agency—powers to investigate environmental crime

  2. Environment Agency (EA)—powers of entry

  3. Natural Resources Wales—powers to investigate environmental crime

  4. Natural England—powers to investigate environmental crime

  5. Local authorities—powers to investigate environmental crime

For information on the enforcement and prosecution of environmental crime generally, see Practice Notes: Environmental prosecution and enforcement policy and An introductory guide to environmental criminal liability.

Preventing further environmental damage

It is extremely important to ensure that any environmental damage that has been caused is firstly stopped and secondly mitigated as far as possible.

There are a number of reasons for this that are relevant to the possible legal ramifications of a pollution event, outside of the due regard

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