Judges and magistrates in England and Wales have be handing out tougher sentences for individuals and companies involved with illegal waste handling, breaches of waste permits and illegal waste export.
The Sentencing Council published Sentencing guidelines in February which covered offences relating to the disposal and treatment of waste covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Separate guidance has been issued to courts for determining punishments for businesses and for individuals following a public consultation in 2013, which saw input from the waste industry, local authorities, judges and magistrates.
Magistrates are now for the first time being encouraged to make more use of the highest level of fines for some of the more serious offences that come before the courts.
Courts have been told to determine fines for businesses and organisations on a sliding scale, with the most serious offences including the mishandling of hazardous or chemical waste and those causing major clean-up costs.
Firms who deliberately breach the law could face fines of up to £3 million, while small firms with a turnover of up to £10 million face fines of up to £400,000.
Offences where companies or individuals cause pollution or harm to people’s health are to receive harsher punishment by the courts.
Additional offenses include breaches of waste permits, any breach of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations, fly-tipping and waste handling or disposal offences.
The guideline also includes nuisance offenders such as those who cause noise, smoke, dust or smells, or run premises posing a health or pollution risk.
Contact us today to find out more about waste crime.