The Environment Agency charged a company with two offences contrary to Regulations 12 and 38 the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales Regulations) 2016.
These were for carrying out a flood risk activity, namely excavation works within 8 metres of a main river, without a flood risk activity permit; and carrying out a flood risk activity, namely the deposit of excavated materials on the banks and the re-profiling of the banks of a main river, without a flood risk activity permit.
The offences are strict liability offences, triable either way.
The company instructed Ms Sonia Ahmad of Banks Kelly who upon her instruction guided the directors in taking appropriate measures throughout the proceedings to ensure the minimal penalty possible.
The Environment Agency was pushing for a high fine, claiming that the company had been reckless, and the damage was substantial (Category 2). This range of fine for offences in those categories has a starting point of £24,000 to £100,000 for each offence.
However due to all the mitigating steps carried out by the company on advice of its solicitor; and the representations made at the sentencing hearing whereby all mitigating steps were accepted, and the aggravating steps proposed by the Environment Agency were disregarded, the company was instead ordered to pay a fine of £3,000 per offence. The fine amount was lower than what it had offered the Environment Agency as an early settlement offer to avoid the costs of going to Court; which the Environment Agency rejected.
The company takes its compliance issues seriously and has learnt from its mistakes. It acted promptly by instructing solicitors and acted responsibly in following their advice throughout.
If your company would like advice on Environmental Offences, please do not hesitate to contact Ms Sonia Ahmad.