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Companies pay out more than £1.5m for breaking environment laws


   Acording to Environment Agency - UK, more than £1.5m will go to projects helping wildlife and the environment as companies pay for breaking green laws, the  Businesses are paying between £1,500 and £375,000 in “enforcement undertakings” as an alternative to prosecutions for breaking environmental laws by polluting rivers, breaching permit conditions or avoiding recycling. The money on the new list of enforcement undertakings from 26 companies - including six paying six-figure with sums totals £1,535,992 including Northumbrian Water (£375,000), Filippo Berio UK (£253,906), Anglian Water Services (£100,000), Heineken UK (£160,000), Kerry Ingredients UK (£127,975), Sandoz (£120,932).
Northumbrian Water fined for pumping raw sewage into a tributary of the river Tyne (Getty source)

   It will go to 30 charities and projects to clean up stretches of rivers and restock waterways with native species, and for community groups to invest in public parkland, the Environment Agency said. £375,000 was paid by Northumbrian Water for pumping raw sewage into a tributary of the river Tyne, while Anglian Water Services has made two separate payments of £100,000 for pollution incidents that killed fish. Heineken UK and Kerry Ingredients also paid large sums for pollution incidents, while Filippo Berio UK and Sandoz agreed six-figure payments for failing to recover or recycle packaging waste.

   As well as making the payments, all the companies have accepted liability, demonstrated they have taken undertaken work to repair environmental damage and invested to reduce the risk of similar breaches in the future. The Environment Agency said its ability to accept enforcement undertakings was extended in 2015 to a wider range of issues. The measure is used where suitable to restore the environment quickly, improve company practices and avoid longer criminal court cases, though serious cases are still prosecuted, the agency said.

   According to Legal Director for the Environment Agency Peter Kellett, they take pollution incidents very seriously and the payments of £1.5m... are the result of our firm but fair enforcement action and will benefit people and the environment across the country. Enforcement undertakings allow those who commit offences to restore the environment and to take steps to prevent a recurrence. When appropriate, they allow a quicker resolution than a prosecution and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to put things right with their local communities.

   Director of The Wildlife Trusts, England Stephen Trotter said, the principle that a polluter should make amends for the damage they’ve caused makes good sense so they all depend on a healthy environment and this positive scheme allows some natural improvements to be funded which otherwise wouldn’t happen. It would be better if these incidents hadn’t happened in the first place, but at least something positive has come out of it. Wildlife Trusts are among the charities receiving payments, with Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust using the money to protect rare chalk streams and Surrey Wildlife Trust supporting projects including conserving heathlands and restoring hedges■

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(Source: Environment Agency - UK)

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