The general population is becoming increasingly more environmentally conscious. Therefore, the reputational, not to mention financial damage caused to an organisation which breaches environment regulations can be devastating. For example, in 2017, Thames Water Utilities Ltd was ordered to pay an unprecedented £20,361,140.06 in fines and costs for a series of significant pollution incidents on the River Thames. These offences were caused by negligence and led to the death of wildlife and distress to the public.
I have in-depth experience in defending individuals and organisations (both public and private) in both criminal and civil environmental law cases. I can provide an emergency response if an environmental incident or disaster occurs, managing both the media and investigating officers, as well as ensuring an independent investigation into the incident is meticulously undertaken.
What types of environmental regulations do I need to comply with?
Complying with domestic and international environmental law is crucial for many organisations working in waste, energy, transport, resource management, and construction etc. Compliance is also important in order to retain company reputation and avoid negative publicity.
Environment regulation affects the following areas:
- waste management and waste disposal requirements
- the need for and compliance with environmental permits, licenses, registrations and exemptions
- producer responsibility legislation such as WEEE, RoHS and Packaging Waste
- the statutory contaminated land regime and water law
- compliance with sustainability and carbon reduction requirements, including the Carbon Reduction Commitment
- chemicals legislation, including REACH and CLP
- statutory nuisance including noise, smoke fumes and vibration
- hazardous substances
- ecology and protection of habitats and species
Keeping up with changes in environmental law is difficult for companies focused on growth and attracting investment. I can help manage your environmental risk and ongoing compliance, ensuring all stakeholders involved in your venture understand their duties and responsibilities.
What should I do if I am faced with allegations of breaching environment regulations?
Should there be non-compliance with environmental legislation, early advice is essential to prevent enforcement action being taken.
The Civil Sanctions regime has allowed for a large number of regulatory breaches to be dealt with by way of a civil remedy, thus avoiding the need for a court appearance and any subsequent adverse media attention.
Where enforcement action cannot be prevented, I will advise on all aspects of defending an environmental prosecution or appealing against enforcement notices. My advice and representation style is robust, intelligent, and persuasive. I have a strong reputation for building water-tight defences and quickly spotting holes in the other side’s case. In civil litigation, I am an expert in case strategy and using tactics such as Part 36 offers effectively.
Who are the main regulators for environmental law in the UK?
The principal environmental regulators and enforcing authorities are the Environment Agency (EA) (for England) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for Wales. Other bodies have related roles, including:
- Natural England, for biodiversity, wildlife and habitats.
- The Marine Management Organisation, for marine activities.
- The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), for health and safety at work, including some environmental regimes, such as asbestos.
Local authorities have several environmental roles, including:
- Regulating emissions and air, water and land from smaller industrial plants.
- Collecting and disposing of municipal waste.
I have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with these agencies and have an in-depth understanding of their investigatory procedures. In addition, I have relationships with many expert witnesses in environmental law whom I can call on to support your defence.
Environment law non-compliance investigations and/or prosecutions or civil litigation stemming from a breach of environmental law requires expert legal advice and representation. I can be instructed directly or via a Solicitor. If your matter needs the expertise of a Solicitor, I will advise you of this fact and partner with your chosen practitioner to ensure your best interests are protected at all times.