MPs publish guidelines on sentencing for environmental crimes


The Justice Committee in the House of Commons has published a consultation on guidelines to help magistrates decide on appropriate punishment for environmental crimes.

It has examined proposed guidelines from the Sentencing Council that looked at a wide range of offences from those undertaken by multi-national companies to individual crimes such as fly tipping.


In particular, it has looked at the core offences outlined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environment Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. These cover unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal, of waste and illegal discharges to air, land and water.

Justice Committee chair Alan Beith said: “This draft guideline covers a wide range of offences ranging from fly tipping to large scale hazardous waste offences, and the sentences appropriate for individuals may be quite different from those appropriate for a large company.

“Although there was a case for treating some of these issues separately, there was a clear desire from magistrates to have a framework of guidance.

“Crimes that damage the environment and endanger public safety are taken seriously by the courts and I hope that the final version of the guideline will assist them in doing so.”