Unlimited fines for polluters

UK river pollution - Unlimited fines for polluters

The Government has introduced unlimited fines for polluters! Previously, Variable Monetary Penalties (VMPs), were capped at a maximum of £250,000. However, following a consultation during last spring which gained widespread public support, this cap was removed from 11th December 2023 while increasing the range of offences covered.

Following the introduction of the new measures Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, made the following comments:

“By lifting the cap on these sanctions, we are simultaneously toughening our enforcement tools and expanding where regulators can use them. These changes will deliver a proportionate punishment for operators that breach their permits and cause pollution.”

“Polluters should be in no doubt that if they harm our precious habitats and waterways they will pay.”

The Government has previously been criticised by campaigners because the funding of regulatory bodies has been reduced. Therefore, the new measures have been taken to ensure that the regulations covering pollution are more robust and DEFRA has the necessary powers to enforce them.

The new measures are intended as a deterrent and build on Government policies to tackle pollution and protect ecosystems while enhancing the natural environment.

It will mean that regulators will be able to target and tackle a wider range of environmental offences.

The penalties issued will be in proportion to the size of the company responsible and the nature and seriousness of the offence.

Although the new regulations provide a speedy and cost effective solution when compared to bringing criminal charges, the most serious breaches will still result in criminal prosecution.

At Madexa ERS, our experienced and highly qualified environmental consultants can provide you with essential advice and guidance on all aspects of environmental risk and management in a number of industry sectors including:

  • Commercial and Professional
  • Minerals
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Utilities
  • Waste

From our Nottinghamshire head office, we provide environmental risk solution services for clients throughout the UK. Contact us if you need assistance with issues regarding:

Unlimited fines for polluters – Increased range of offences

The offences affect all companies that have environmental permits in place, including agriculture, processing, waste, and water industries.

The new measures have been introduced to make sure that those who pollute the environment always pay for the damage they cause.

Offences include making false or misleading statements, being intentionally deceptive regarding regulation requirements and failing to comply with permits or infringement notices.

According to www.gov.uk, the range of offences for pollution has been extended to cover:

  • Illegal discharges into water where there is no permit, for example, agricultural pollution caused by slurry stores.
  • A breach of permit conditions for companies that discharge waste into waterways – rivers and seas. This offence covers discharge from sewage treatment works and permitted storm overflows.
  • It also covers illegal waste offences. This could be an illegal scrapyard or unpermitted waste management facilities.
  • In addition, permit breaches include those made by manufacturers and power stations which may contribute to air pollution.

Rebecca Pow, Under Secretary of State at DEFRA said:

“This will deliver a proportionate punishment for operators that breach their permits and harm our rivers, seas, and precious habitats.…

“… further strengthening the power of regulators to hold polluters to account.”

Funds raised from penalties levied against water companies will be reinvested into the Water Restoration Fund, which will provide funding for local projects focused on improving inland waterways.

Unlimited fines for polluters – Environmental permits

Sites with permits are regulated by the Environment Agency, although some activities may fall under Local Authority regulations.

Many industrial and agricultural companies require environmental permits for their operations, to make sure they are operating within the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2016.

For companies requiring a standard rules permit, there is no requirement to submit a summary of a management system.

However, a management system must be in place before companies begin operating, and a management system must be implemented once operations commence, to avoid a breach of the environmental permit.

The amount of information contained within the environmental management system depends on the nature of the activities and the level of risk they pose to the environment.

If you are unsure where to start, contact the Madexa ERS team to find out how we can help you with the consent/application process for environmental permits.

Unlimited fines for polluters – How Madexa ERS can help?

At Madexa ERS, we offer a range of risk solution and management services in compliance with environmental regulations for a range of industry sectors throughout the UK, including:

  • Environmental permits and management
  • Environmental management
  • Project management/coordination
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Pollution control system
  • Environmental Auditing/compliance

For more about our core service offering and how we work in various industries, check out the industry sectors page on our website.

Unlimited fines for polluters – Permits

Environmental permits require operators to have a written management system in place.

This will include a risk assessment and the procedures in place to minimise the risk of pollution from all activities covered by the permit.

Environmental permits are required for a number of industrial operations as well as the more obvious water, energy, and waste. These include the production of food and drink, and metals as well as retail industry and offices.

In fact, any industry that has a waste activity is covered by a ‘waste operation’ or ‘installation’ permit (although there are a few exemptions.)

As well as the environmental permit, your industrial operations/installations may also need one or more of the following:

  • Water Abstraction Licence
  • Water Discharge Licence
  • Trade Effluent Consent

At Madexa ERS, our environmental consultants can manage the whole process of environmental permits and consent applications on your behalf, removing the risk of facing unlimited fine for polluters.

Our services include:

  • Changes to existing permits
  • Transfer of permits/surrender of applications

In addition, we offer support with developing the processes, procedures, and systems that you have to fulfil according to your permit.

And our support doesn’t end there!

We can also manage ongoing compliance with required reporting and monitoring, plus maintenance and the continuing management of your environmental management system.

If you are concerned about unlimited fines for polluters, and how the new measures affect your business operations, contact us today to discover how we can help with environmental permits, management systems and ongoing compliance.