Three recent cases highlight the penalties that can be brought against a company for breaching environmental legislation:
- In the first case, three men and a haulage company were ordered to pay more than £262,000 in fines, confiscation and costs for illegally dumping more than 60,000 tonnes of waste on two farms in Cornwall. The amount of material deposited was way in excess of the prescribed limit of 1,000 tonnes, some of which was tipped on a raised field and slipped into a nearby stream.
- In the second, a company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,474 costs after pleading guilty to breaching environmental permitting regulations. The Environment Agency prosecuted the company for causing trade effluent to enter inland freshwaters without being authorised by an environmental permit.
- In the third case, two company directors and their company were ordered to pay £25,450 fines for illegally exporting 187 tonnes of hazardous electronic waste to six African countries between 2011 and 2015. The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency after their officers found 11 shipping containers full of electrical waste destined for Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania. This sentence is indicative of how seriously the courts now treat environmental crime. In June 2014, an offender convicted of illegally exporting 46 tonnes of hazardous electrical waste to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Congo was sentenced to a term of 16 months by Snaresbrook Crown Court. He had a previous conviction for this offence.