The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
STOP PRESS: The Environment Agency has published updated details of new enforcement undertakings accepted between 1 January and 31 May 2022. See: LNB News 23/06/2022 106. This Practice Note is being updated to reflect this change.
Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 enables regulators to be given powers to deal with offences using civil sanctions, including environmental enforcement undertakings, instead of commencing a criminal prosecution. The Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have the power to impose enforcement undertakings in relation to a number of offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/1154 (EPR 2016).
An enforcement undertaking is a written undertaking to take actions within a specified period:
to secure the offence does not continue or recur
to restore the position so far as possible to what it would have been had the offences not been committed
to benefit a third party (including, where appropriate, a money payment), or
to secure equivalent benefit or improvement to the environment, where it is not possible to restore the harm caused
Those who breach environmental regulation can, where an enforcement undertaking is available for the particular offence, set out how they propose to put the matter right and submit their proposal to their environmental regulator. If the regulator accepts their proposals, the enforcement undertaking becomes a legally binding voluntary agreement.
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