Companies agree to enforcement undertaking terms to avoid prosecution

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The Environment Agency has released details of four cases in which charities will receive more than £1.5 million for projects benefiting wildlife and the environment as a result of enforcement action.

The Government has given the Environment Agency powers to apply civil penalties for certain offences. Civil sanctions such as these can be a proportionate and cost-effective way for businesses to make amends for less serious environmental offences. The primary purpose of the enforcement undertaking is to allow offenders to restore and remediate any environmental damage they have caused.

Cases include the following.

  • Wessex Water Services Ltd for an environmental offence involving sewage spills at Swanage in Dorset. Wessex Water has contributed £975,000.

  • Carlsberg Supply Company (UK) Ltd after around 230 litres of diesel escaped into the River Nene. This followed a diesel spill the previous week that ran into the site’s surface water drain. Three months later, an estimated 200 litres of diesel escaped into the same river following similar circumstances. Carlsberg made donations totalling £120,000. The company also paid the Environment Agency’s incident response and enforcement costs in full.

  • Tesco Distribution Ltd donated £100,000 to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for discharging diesel into a watercourse pond.

  • Angel Springs Holdings Ltd for not taking reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste.

The Environment Agency warns that failure to comply with an enforcement undertaking may result in the offender being prosecuted for the original offence.

Last reviewed 6 December 2018

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