Archive for the 'Environmental sanctions' Category

First Civil Financial Penalty Served by the Environment Agency

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 February 2016

imgresThe Environment Agency has just publicized details of the first variable civil penalty served on an organization for an environmental offence. Civil penalties were part of range of new sanctions recommended by Professor Macrory in his 2006 Cabinet Office Sanctions Review, and contained in Part III Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
A penalty of £63,958 plus costs was imposed on Cumbria County Council last August after chlorine leaked out of one of its swimming pools and killed more than 400 fish in a local river, according to the Environment Agency’s  latest list of civil sanctions, published on 19 February 2016.

Professor Macrory commented, “I am delighted to see another significant step in the practical implementation of a modern and flexible sanctions systems. In this case the incident was serious enough to warrant an imposed sanction rather than accept an agreed undertaking but not a full criminal prosecution. The Agency now has a flexible range of sanctions powers appropriate to the situation in hand.”

Effective Enforcement of Environmental Law

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 26 May 2015

Speakers at the conference of enforcement of environmental law held at the Faculty on March 30th have kindly provided their power point presentations, which are available here.






By Centre for Law and Environment , on 18 December 2014

A special conference to mark Professor Richard Macrory’smacrory_sm

contribution to the development of environmental law

Effective Enforcement of Environmental Law

at the UCL Faculty of Laws

Monday 30 March 2015 from 2 – 6pm and
Tuesday 31 March 2015 at 9am – 2pm

More about the symposium:


Richard Macrory on Better Business Regulation

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 October 2014

LOGOOn October 16 Richard Macrory was a key note-speaker at a Whitehall conference organized by Westminster Business Forum to consider new initiatives in business regulation and enforcement. Professor Macrory highlighted three important recent developments – the new Regulators Code introduced by the Government last April, the proposed new legal duty on regulators ,contained in the Deregulation Bill currently before Parliament, to have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth, and the proposed Small Business Appeal Champion contained in the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Proceedings of the event, ‘Business Regulation and Enforcement – industry involvement, local delivery and key policy developments’ will be published by the Forum : http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/publications.php?fid=westminster_business_forum

European Environmental Prosecutors Meet in the Hague

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 4 December 2013

Environmental prosecutors from all over Europe attended the Hague on 27 and 28 November 2013 at a conference hosted by EUROJUST and the newly formed European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE). The meeting brought together for the first time prosecutors specialising in environmental crime from Eurojust and the ENPE as well as representatives from the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), Interpol and Europol.

In most European countries, bodies responsible for the prosecution of environmental crime are distinct from the regulatory agencies who have responsibility for licences and inspection and the imposition of administrative penalties –  the Environment Agency and Natural England in England and Wales are unusual is that they combines both functions. Professor Richard Macrory, co-director of the Centre for Law and the Environment, gave the key-note speech at the conference and outlined his vision for a more coordinated and integrated system, spanning criminal and administrative responses.

“We now need to think how we can more effectively coordinate criminal and administrative sanctions. There should be a number of principles that should underline any system of sanctions. A core principle is that a sanction should be designed to change the behaviour of the offender – sometimes this needs a criminal punishment, sometimes not. Second, an effective sanctioning system will ensure no financial gains are made by non-compliance. Sometimes this can be achieved by a criminal fine. But again there may be other more imaginative ways of ensuring this. An effective sanctioning system has to be very responsive to a broad range of offenders, and the bodies responsible for enforcement, whether criminal or administrative, need to create and publish an integrated enforcement policy. Such a policy will indicate the range of sanctions available and the circumstances when they are most likely to be applied – this gives important signals to the businesses concerned, and increased public confidence in the overall system.”

Mr Leif Görts, National Member for Sweden and chair of the meeting, commented: “This meeting was broad and ambitious and the first of its kind…… We all agree on the threats, and we also agree on the obvious need to share experience and knowledge; this is exactly why Eurojust bringing together senior environmental prosecutors is so important and highly relevant.”


European Commission Proposals on Enviromental Inspections and Surveillance

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 28 October 2013

In September 2013, Professor Macrory was one of the few academic specialists to be invited by the European Commission to take part in their first conference to discuss the Commission’s developing ideas for new legislation on inspections and surveillance. The meeting was held in DG Environment, Brussels. Most of the other participants were representatives of governments or enforcement authorities, including the police, in Member States.

In June 2012 The Environment Council called for improving inspections regimes as a necessary element of effective enforcement, provided this did not impose unnecessary administrative burden.  The Commission launched a consultation document  on the subject in February of this year.

The Commission’s proposals include greater exploitation of the potential of remote sensing (satellite imagery etc.) as an enforcement tool, an area where the centre, especially through the work of Ray Purdy, is a lead centre of excellence. The underlying principles concerning regulatory sanctions, developed by Professor Macrory, are likely to play in increasingly significant role in the proposals as they develop.

Environmental Sanctions

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 19 April 2013

The 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to:Environment & Climate Change Law (published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London www.iclg.co.uk) carries an analysis by Professor Richard Macrory which links recent case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning the failure of a Member State to have an effective enforcement system with the developments in environmental sanctions in England and Wales.


UKELA criticizes Government’s new policy on Civil Sanctions

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 9 January 2013

Following the conference on regulatory sanctions held at UCL last November,  the UK Environmental Law Association has written to Michael Fallon,  Minister of State at the Dept of Business, Innovation and Skills expressing concern at aspects of the Government’s new policy on regulatory sanctions announced on the day of the conference.

The Government has said that in future the core civil sanction penalties will be generally applicable only to companies with 250 employees or more –  Oliver Letwin, Minister of State at the Cabinet office, explained at the conference that he felt smaller companies could be unfairly pressurized by regulators using the new powers and would not have the legal resources to exercise their rights of appeal.

In the UKELA letter, Richard Kimblin, barrister, and convenor of UKELA’s Litigation Working Party, argues  that the new policy will significantly restrict the scope for civil sanctions to be used to deal with environmental offending in future and risks creating a complicated, two-tier system for enforcement. Further, Mr Letwin’s comments at the conference about the underlying reasoning indicated to us that the policy might be based on some misconceptions about the way the present civil sanctions system works.

UKELA Letter to Michael Fallon, 20 December

Conference of Regulatory Sanctions

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 November 2012

The Centre for Law and the Environment together with the UK Environmental Law Association held a one day conference on November 9th 2012.  It brought together some of the leading players in the development of regulatory sanctions with a special focus on the environmental law where the Environment Agency and others are experimenting with new approaches provided by Part III Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 and based on proposals of Professor Macrory.

On the day of the conference the Government announced its new policy in relation to Orders granting new sanctioning powers to regulators.  Essentially all the new sanctions will continue to be available but civil financial penalties will be restricted to larger companies.

Ten things you should know about environmental enforcement and sanctions is a detailed account of the day written by Rosie Oliver, barrister and  research officer for the UK Environmental Law Association is is reproduced below with permission of UKELA.

Government Announce New Policy on Civil Sanctions

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 12 November 2012

On 8 November 2012, the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise gave a statement to Parliament outlining the Government’s future policy on civil sanctions. New powers concerning a range of civil sanctions were contained in Part III Regulatory Sanctions and Environment Act 2008 following a Review by Professor Macrory.

The powers have to be transferred to particular areas of regulation by subsidiary Orders, and at present these have largely been confined to a small area of environmental regulation. The Coalition Government has been concerned whether the new sanctions give too much power to regulators who can impose financial penalties without going through the courts. Those served with a penalty notice may appeal to the Regulatory Tribunal and under current orders there is a presumption of innocence with the burden of proving a case resting on the regulator.

In future, according to the Statement,  Orders will generally only been permitted where the power to impose civil sanctions in the form of financial penalties is confined to  larger companies, i.e. those with more than 250 employees. Other forms of sanctions such as Stop Notice and Compliance notices, and the power to negotiate an Enforceable Undertaking can be made available to any size of company.

The policy relates to England only.  Devolved powers means that wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may develop distinct policies.

Professor Macrory commented : “After months of uncertainty, the announcement at least clears the political air. The new approach to regulatory sanctions contained in the Regulatory Enforcement and sanctions Act has not been abandoned, though smaller and medium sized companies may not necessarily welcome being excluded from key elements of the new system”

Government Policy on Civil Sanctions