Updated Jul 7, 2020

Cash boost for Midlands environmental projects

Over the last nine years, £1.45 million has been received by environmental charities and projects throughout the Midlands in donations from companies subject to enforcement undertakings from the Environment Agency.

Enforcement undertakings came into effect in 2011 as an alternative to prosecutions for environmental offences, and where agreed with the Environment Agency, allow businesses or individuals responsible for a pollution incident or another environmental offence, to make donations to environmental projects rather than face prosecution.

As well as making a donation to an environmental project the company or person must also stop offending, meet compliance and restore any harm they have caused to the environment.

Such enforcement alternatives are usually reserved for less serious environmental offences where it is not really in the public interest to pursue prosecution. They should not be viewed as a cheaper option to prosecution.

In the Midlands over the past nine years Severn Trent made the largest donation under an enforcement undertaking, paying £226,000 to Trent Rivers Trust, after a pollution incident and a packaging waste non-compliance.

Beth Haste, Regulatory Officer with the Environment Agency, commented: "While we have the option to prosecute companies that fail to meet their obligations to the environment, enforcement undertakings are an excellent alternative that result in positive benefits to the environment and communities."