A major international conference was held in Oxford at the end of September on tackling environmental crime in Europe. Organized by three networks of bodies involvement in environmental enforcement – ENPE (European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment), EnvironCrimeNet (Police and Interpol), and IMPEL (environmental regulators), the conference was attended by over 100 delegates from Europe and other parts of the world including China, the US and Australia. Professor Macrory gave the after dinner speech, and provided a personal account of the challenges of developing and implementing a new vision for environmental regulatory sanctions that fully integrated criminal and administrative approaches. He concluded with a conjuring illusion demonstrating the difficulties of enforcement.
Archive for the 'Environmental sanctions' Category
Ray Purdy (Hon Sen. Research Fellow) and Professor Richard Macrory took part in a Parliamentary Breakfast briefing on 31 January discussing environmental crime. Ray Purdy spoke about the increasing potential of satellite technology to detect environmental crime, while Richard Macrory argued for the need of the full range of criminal and administrative sanctions needed to tackle the issue. The event was coordinated by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and was attended by MPs and other experts. Details including a summary of the discussion can be found at https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/bicameral/post/post-events/environmental-crime/
Professor Macrory was a key note speaker at a conference on November 28th held in Milan on environmental enforcement and sanctions. The conference, Environmental Law Regulation: Dealing Complexity by Complexity was organized by University Bocconi. Edward Ruggeri, a former UCL LLM student, and now working as a practitioner in Milan, was one of the respondents.
Richard Macrory has been expert adviser and written the guest editorial for the latest thematic issue of the European Commission’s Science for Environmental Policy series. Issue 56 (July 2016) entitled Environmental Compliance Assurance and Combatting Environmental Crime summarizes fourteen recently published research papers from across the world, and covers such topics as the value of emerging networks of enforcement bodies, opportunities for exploiting new technologies to assist detection of regulatory breaches , the use of appropriate sanctions and the added value of a compliance assurance conceptual framework. The work for this issue was coordinated by the Science Communication Unit of the University of the West of England. For a full copy of the Issue see the Science for Environmental Policy web-site.
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.”
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.
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
On 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
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.”
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.