The Council has adopted a framework decision on the protection of the environment through criminal law, which requires member states to declare some polluting activities punishable under criminal, rather than administrative law.

These include:

  • unlawful discharge, emission or introduction of a quantity of substances or ionising radiation into air, soil or water which causes lasting deterioration, death or serious injury to any person, substantial damage to protected monuments, other protected objects, property, animals or plants;

  • unlawful disposal, treatment, storage, transport, export or import of waste which causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury to any person or substantial damage to the quality of air, soil, water, animals or plants;

  • unlawful operation of a plant in which a dangerous activity is carried out and which, outside the plant, causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury to any person or substantial damage to the quality of air, soil, water, animals or plants;

  • unlawful manufacture, treatment, storage, use, transport, export or import of nuclear or other hazardous radioactive substances which causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury to any person or substantial damage to the quality of air, soil, water, animals or plants;

  • unlawful possession, taking, damaging, killing or trading of or in protected wildlife species or parts thereof, at least where they are threatened with extinction; and

  • unlawful trade in ozone-depleting substances.

    Crimes should result in “effective, proportionate and dissuasive” penalties, including imprisonment and extradition. Other penalties can also be used, such as disqualifying individuals from managing a company where there is a risk of the activity being repeated. The decision also sets out provisions regarding extradition and penalties. Member states have until February 2005 to comply with the decision.

Further information:

Framework Decision 2003/80/JHA, OJ L29, 5.2.2003, available from: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/dat/2003/ l_029/l_02920030205en00550058.pdf


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