Most enforcement actions or prosecutions for environmental crime in the UK are undertaken by the Environment Agency (EA). The EA regulates a wide range of activities, from leisure activities right through to intricate industrial practices; taking enforcement action against individuals and against companies.
Criminal offences arising from environmental crime can include allegations of fly tipping, dumped business waste, and noise nuisance. Where an offence is said to have been committed by a corporate entity and is attributable to the “consent, connivance, or neglect” of a director, manager, or other officer of the company, then that person can be found to be guilty of an offence and is in turn liable to be the subject of any enforcement action for it. If you find yourself facing prosecution in those circumstances, the EA will use the full range of powers they have at their disposal.
A conviction could see you face an unlimited fine and/or a term of imprisonment. The EA also has the power to seek an order disqualifying you from being a director. Sentences for corporate bodies vary depending on how large a company is, based on its annual turnover. The Court has recently suggested that fines for environmental offences should be sufficiently high to send a strong message to directors and shareholders about their environmental obligations. For some companies, this could result in financial penalties of millions of pounds.
With all this at stake, if you are being investigated or prosecuted by the EA, it is vital that you have the benefit of high quality legal advice from a team who puts clients at the very centre of all the cases they deal with, whether it’s you or your company who has been targeted. At Reeds our experienced team of lawyers have the skills and experience you need to achieve the best possible outcome in these cases; be it advising you in interviews under caution, strategically negotiating with the EA to secure an out of Court disposal, or vigorously protecting your interests in any prosecution.
You can contact any member of our team for more information about helping you through an investigation or prosecution by the EA, or alternatively you can click here and a member of the team will contact you as soon as possible.
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