New sentencing proposals crack down on waste criminals

Fly-tippers and other serious waste offenders could be slapped with larger fines after new environmental sentencing proposals were launched yesterday (14 March).

The new draft sentencing guidelines from the Sentencing Council cover offences like fly-tipping and waste disposal that cause pollution or harm to health.

With waste crimes causing significant environmental damage and impacting on communities and legitimate businesses, the proposals aim to ensure that the level of fines handed out to offenders matches the seriousness of the offences they have committed.

The idea is that criminals will be hit in the pocket as well as being deterred from committing further crimes.

The proposals mark the first time that guidelines have been produced for these offences and the Sentencing Council is proposing that magistrates make more use of the highest levels of fines available to them for some of the more serious offences that come before the courts.

A wide variety of offences are covered that mostly come under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

“We welcome this review into sentencing environmental offences and support its aim to ensure that the level of fines given to offenders matches the seriousness of the offences they have committed,” commented chief prosecutor at the Environment Agency Anne Brosnan.

“Environmental crime puts the environment and people’s health at risk, and illegal operators undercut legitimate businesses that do the right thing.”

Bosnan added that the clearer guidelines would be invaluable in helping the courts to hand out appropriate sentences for environmental offences, and would ensure that this type of offence was dealt with consistently across the country.

The Sentencing Council is seeking views on its proposals through a public consultation, which runs from 14 March to 6 June 2013.

Nick Warburton

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