Environment Agency—powers to investigate environmental crime
Produced in partnership with Christopher Badger of 6 Pump Court
Environment Agency—powers to investigate 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:

  • Environment Agency—powers to investigate environmental crime
  • Environment Act 1995
  • An 'investigation'
  • The application of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
  • The application of PACE Code B
  • Powers of entry under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Interviews under caution
  • Section 108 powers
  • Powers of entry under section 108
  • Powers of seizure
  • More...

The Environment Agency (EA) is one of the regulators responsible for the enforcement of environmental law and the prosecution of environmental crime in England. Other regulators responsible for environmental compliance and prosecution in England include local authorities and Natural England. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is the responsible authority, for Wales, and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland.

This Practice Note focuses on the powers of the EA to investigate environmental crime.

For information on the enforcement and prosecution of environmental crime generally, see Practice Note: Environmental prosecution and enforcement policy.

For information on the powers of other environmental regulators, see Practice Notes:

  1. Natural Resources Wales—powers to investigate environmental crime

  2. Natural England—powers to investigate environmental crime

  3. Local authorities—powers to investigate environmental crime

Environment Act 1995

The EA derives its powers of investigation from the aims and functions designated to it by virtue of the Environment Act 1995 (EA 1995). It is as a result of the EA 1995 that the EA is the principal regulator for enforcing pollution control enactments such as the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR 2016), SI 2016/1154 and consequently for investigation potential breaches of those enactments.

EA 1995, s 4 provides:

'It shall be the principal aim of the Agency…in discharging its functions so to protect or enhance the environment, taken as a whole, as to make the contribution towards attaining the objective of

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