Pollution benefits environment charities to sum of £2.2m
Figures have been released that show environmental charities and projects will benefit from more than £2.2m in payments made as a result of enforcement undertakings agreed with the Environment Agency.
Companies and individuals will make payments for various environmental offences, such as the pollution of rivers and the sea, and failing to recover packaging waste. A total of 15 charities and projects will benefit from the money, which will be put to good use by local groups on projects that benefit the environment, including cleaning up and enhancing parks, rivers and beaches.
The latest list includes the Agency’s largest ever financial contribution of £975,000, which was offered by Wessex Water Services Ltd in November 2018 for an environmental offence that included sewage spills in Swanage in Dorset. In this case, £400,000 will go to Dorset Waste Partnership, £400,000 to Purbeck District Council and Swanage Town Council, £100,000 to Dorset Litter Free Coast and Sea Project, and £75,000 to Durlston Country Park and Nature Reserve.
It is significant that the companies that agree an enforcement undertaking have accepted liability, demonstrated restoration of harm and will make improvements to avoid future offences.
It is becoming increasingly common to see the Environment Agency using enforcement undertakings as an opportunity to restore or enhance the environment, improve practices of the offending business and help ensure future compliance with environmental requirements.
However, it stressed that prosecutions will still be taken in the most serious cases.