First Civil Financial Penalty Served by the Environment Agency
By Richard B Macrory, on 29 February 2016
The 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.”