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Top man changes side!

dismantling yard
If you're in trouble with the EA, then you need to know about Civil Sanctions
The Environment Agency’s senior managing lawyer dealing with enforcement and prosecution has recently joined Yorkshire law firm Schofield Sweeney as an environmental regulatory specialist. He should be great help for anyone with an EA issue. Here, he also tells us about something we need to know, Civil Sanctions.

Prior to 31 March 2015 Craig Burman was an environmental prosecutor, and managed the Environment Agency’s National Enforcement and Prosecution legal team. Craig has extensive experience dealing with a full range of environmental and compliance issues, including end of life vehicles, waste permitting and compliance with the various waste regulations. He was also formerly Regional Solicitor for the North East Region based in Leeds.
Craig Burman
Having been an environmental prosecutor, and managed the Environment Agency’s National Enforcement and Prosecution legal team, Craig has extensive experience dealing with a full range of environmental and compliance issues. We can now take advantage of his experience as an environmental and regulatory solicitor with Schofield Sweeney. You can contact him on 01274 377283.

While at the Environment Agency Craig dealt with a wide range of environmental prosecutions, and is very experienced in all aspects of the law surrounding ATFs. He understands the difficulties faced by ATF operators, including the escalating costs of compliance, the fluctuating price of scrap metal, paperwork requirements around hazardous waste transportation and disposal and quarterly returns. He told atfPro, “There is quite a pace around changes in the law, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with this”.
Are you aware of Civil Sanctions?
Craig told us of a recent development that should be of great interest. It’s the introduction of Civil Sanctions for environmental offences from 6 April 2015. This means that the Environment Agency can now offer a range of responses for environmental offences, which do not have to be dealt with in court, and do not involve a conviction. Operators who are being investigated for an offence under Regulation 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (and most ATFs are prosecuted under this section) may be able to avert prosecution by offering an enforcement undertaking.

For an enforcement undertaking you will need to show:
  • The breach has been fixed and the position has been restored
  • You have put steps in place to stop it happening again
  • You have taken action to compensate anyone affected by the offence
  • If you can’t restore the position, you have done something to benefit the environment, for example by making a donation to charity.
You will also have to accept that you have broken the law, but show that the offence was not deliberate, and you don’t have a history of offending. It is up to the Environment Agency to decide whether to accept an enforcement undertaking, or any other civil sanction. If they do accept it, you will need to pay their costs as part of the civil sanction.

If you are facing any enforcement action by the Environment Agency it is worthwhile looking at whether a civil sanction is possible.

If you need any advice about any aspect of your ATF, or compliance with your environmental permit, Craig is available on 01274 377283, and is able to work from a network of offices nationally.

June 2015

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