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New Year, New Enforcement Tools

Jan 13, 2015

Further information
Linda Farrow

UKELA welcomes The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015, laid before Parliament just before Christmas.

The regulations - which will first need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament - will enable the Environment Agency to accept enforcement undertakings from operators pledging actions to deal with environmental permitting offences, instead of prosecuting them. The new provisions are based on those in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (RES Act).

“From UKELA’s point of view, this is a welcome move.” Said, Jill Crawford, Convenor of UKELA’s Environmental Litigation working party, speaking on the eve of UKELA’s seminar on this topic. “UKELA has been commenting on this matter since 2012 and has for some time been pressing for RES Act civil sanctions to be made available for environmental permitting offences. We believe there are a number of benefits from making enforcement undertakings available, including environmental improvements due to voluntary restorative action and avoidance of the need for costly, resource-intensive legal proceedings.”

Practical questions concerning proportionate operation of this new tool from April 2015 will need to be addressed before the regulations are implemented. The Environment Agency is required to produce and consult on guidance about its use of enforcement undertakings. UKELA’s environmental litigation working party will be taking a close interest in the guidance as it develops.

Notes to the editors:

For details of UKELA’s seminar on trends in penalties for environmental crime, to be held at Herbert Smith Freehills in London on Wednesday 14 January 2015, please visit:


UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

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