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 Environment benefits from civil sanctions

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Environment benefits from civil sanctions   Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:11 pm

In the first year since civil sanctions have been available to the Environment Agency, the organisation in the East of England has accepted 14 offers to make donations to environmental charities.

The offers have been made under Enforcement Undertakings which are voluntary offers from offenders to take responsibility for an offence. Enforcement Undertakings encourage business operators to make amends, come into compliance and prevent recurrence.
All of the East of England cases were for breaches of the packaging regulations. Normally cases such as these would result in a prosecution or formal caution.

Under the new civil sanctions regime, the Environment Agency can use non-criminal or civil enforcement such as compliance notices, restoration notices, enforcement undertakings, fixed monetary penalties, variable monetary penalties and stop notices as alternative enforcement powers.

Charities have benefited from thousands of pounds donated by offenders. A total of £184,626 pounds has been promised to environmental charities and £124,626 has already been paid. Local, national and international charities have benefited from donations ranging between £1,119 and £60,000 including wildlife trusts, tree charities and WWF.

The Environment Agency also received payment for its costs in investigating such matters for a total of £23,000.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has benefited from more than £17,000 under the new scheme.

Chief Executive, Paul Learoyd said: “We have benefited from two donations to date and are
delighted to receive the support. As a local charity the money enabled us to do a number of special projects to protect and enhance the environment with benefits both for wildlife and people.

“From installing an otter holt to restoring flower rich meadows the positive effect of the donations is there for all to see - well, in the case of the otter, only if you are very lucky.”

How Hill Trust has received one donation of £4,386. Director Simon Partridge said: “We were really delighted to receive the money and it is no exaggeration to say it was a real bonus to our very limited finances. The money enabled the How Hill Trust to further develop our environmental education work in the Norfolk Broads.

“For example, a large part of the money was spent on overhauling our two boats ensuring they continue to meet strict health and safety regulations. This means, of course, that we can offer boat trips to our young visitors giving an even better environmental educational experience when they visit.
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