Unlimited penalties for business who pollute the environment

Back in September 2023 I wrote an article ‘It’s never been more prudent to be compliant’ about  a DEFRA consultation to review the financial penalties for environmental non-compliance.

The fines for environmental offences relate to ‘Variable Monetary Penalties’ which were capped at £250,000, however the consultation considered a removal of that cap, and for the inclusion of penalties to be expanded to relate to environmental permitting offences.

On 11th December 2023 these changes were brought into force so in 2024 the Environment Agency can now impose unlimited financial penalties on companies found to be polluting the environment.

The range of offences subject to variable monetary penalties is now expanded to include breaches of environmental permit conditions for sites discharging to controlled waters, illegal discharges (pollution incidents) to water without a permit, illegal waste offences where a permit should have been in place, and permit breaches related to air pollution which breaches permit conditions.

Penalties whilst unlimited will be proportionate to the size of the company and the nature of the offence, aligning with Sentencing Council guidelines.

It’s never been more important to ensure you are compliant in order to avoid increasing financial penalties (as well as the cost of reputational damage, down time and remedial costs). Get in touch to talk about how EHS Management Consultancy Ltd can support you in gaining peace of mind and fully understanding your compliance status. Contact EHS Management Consultancy by email or phone