The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Reviewed by Professor Richard Macrory
Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (RESA 2008) enables regulators to be given powers to deal with offences using six new civil sanctions, instead of prosecuting. In 2010, powers were given to the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE) for a number of environmental offences. In 2015, the scope of civil sanctions was extended when the EA was given power to accept enforcement undertakings in respect of environmental permitting offences.
The Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010, SI 2010/1157 apply in England and the Environmental Civil Sanctions (Wales) Order 2010, SI 2010/1821 apply in Wales. Schedule 5 of both regulations specifies which sanctions are available for each offence.
The EA began using its powers on 4 January 2011. Natural England started using its powers from 3 January 2012. From 1 April 2013, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has been responsible for enforcing environmental civil sanctions in Wales.
Civil sanctions are designed to make environmental law enforcement more flexible and effective for both regulators and businesses. According to the EA, 'the aim of enforcement is to make sure business and industry takes appropriate action to protect the environment, make sure regulations which prevent pollution are complied with and secure better outcomes for the environment, people and business'.
The civil sanctions allow regulators to impose financial penalties or other requirements in response to an offence
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