Sentencing guidance for environmental offences

The Sentencing Council has published its definitive guideline for the sentencing of environmental offences, which indicates that harsher penalties will be issued to companies that are convicted of environmental crime. This is the first time that a sentencing guideline has been produced for these types of offences.

The guideline applies to various offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, including the unauthorised deposit, treatment or disposal of waste. The guideline also relates to offences committed under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and will be relevant where a regulated facility is found to be operating without an environmental permit or in breach of a permit condition. Nuisance offences involving the creation and escape of noise, smoke, dust or odour will also fall within the scope of the guideline.

The guideline officially comes into force on 1 July 2014, although we expect that its content will influence the approach adopted by judges and magistrates in sentencing environmental offences before this date…

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