UK to scrap £250,000 limit and impose unlimited fines on polluters

Under the new legislations, regulator could impose higher penalties to ensure compliance across sectors such as energy, water, waste operations and incinerators

Big Zero Report 2023

The government has today unveiled new legislation that will remove the £250,000 limit on penalties for those who pollute the environment.

Under the new legislation, the Environment Agency and Natural England will have the authority to impose unlimited fines on environmental polluters.

This change aims to give regulators a quicker and less expensive way to enforce regulations, instead of relying on lengthy and costly criminal prosecutions.

However, the most serious cases will still be pursued through criminal proceedings.

Regulators will have stronger enforcement powers and can impose higher penalties for violations under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

This applies to sectors, including energy, water, waste and incinerators, ensuring compliance across a wide range of industries.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey emphasised the importance of holding polluters accountable and stated that the removal of the cap on civil penalties will target a broader range of offences, including breaches of storm overflow permits and reckless disposal of hazardous waste.

The amendments to legislation will be subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament before they can come into effect.

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