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Environmental Offences – New Sentencing Guidelines

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

When a successful prosecution for an environmental offence occurs, the financial consequences for the business found to be in breach of the law can be severe.

On 1 July 2014, new sentencing guidelines were introduced for such cases, with the intention of making sure that a conviction for an environmental offence has a ‘real impact’ on the offending business and to persuade the managers and shareholders of the need to get their compliance with environmental regulations up to speed.

Fines are now to be geared to turnover and, whilst consideration is given to the profitability of the business, can be draconian.

Although the maximum fine is set at £3 million in normal circumstances, this may be increased for a large organisation.

The ‘Environmental Offences – Definitive Guideline’ also provides for compensation payments and confiscation of assets to be ordered where asked for by the Crown or where the court considers it appropriate.

If you are concerned about how environmental law may affect your business, contact us for advice.

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