New sentencing guidelines for environmental offences will be used from 1 July 2014

By Sophie Wilkinson

From 1 July 2014, new ‘definitive guidelines’ published by the Sentencing Council will apply for the sentencing of various environmental offences in the Magistrate and Crown courts, irrespective of when the offence was committed.

The range of fines has been increased to reflect an offender’s ability to pay. The aim is to ensure fines have a real economic impact and provide a stronger deterrent from re-offending. The guidelines continue the trend set in recent case law of imposing significant corporate fines for environmental offences.

The guidelines apply to all organisations and individuals who breach the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and certain other related offences through: unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste; illegal discharge to air, land and water; breach of the duty of care in relation to waste; breach of the legislation relating to the transportation of waste; and breach of an abatement notice relating to nuisance…

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