New enforcement powers for the Environment Agency

Extra powers have been granted to the Environment Agency (EA) to speed up prosecutions for illegal waste site operators.

Enforcement action in respect of breaches of environmental permits has typically meant summoning the offender to the Magistrates’ Court, but new powers introduced to regulation 37 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 mean the EA can now serve a suspension notice, where it considers that there has been a contravention of an environmental permit condition and such a contravention involves a risk of pollution.

Changes to Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, reg 42 also make clear that the regulator may make an application to the high court whether or not it has taken other steps to secure compliance with an enforcement notice or other specified type of notice. This will enable the EA to close down firms and freeze the assets of individuals that ignore the rules.

Environmental due diligence should be taken in all property transactions involving waste operators and other environmental permitted activities.

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