Government must stop polluters and flytippers committing green murder - Baker
Ahead of the expected publication of new figures on flytipping by DEFRA, the Liberal Democrats can reveal that the Government is failing to deliver justice on this growing problem.
Polluters who commit crimes against the environment, blighting the quality of life for people across the country, are not being prosecuted or punished effectively enough and are getting away with 'green' murder.
The shameful facts:
- LESS THAN HALF of all cases result in a fine or custodial sentence
- Successful prosecutions are their LOWEST FOR 4 YEARS
- The average fine is as small as £2800
Landfill Pollution Incidents:
- ONLY 0.6% result in a fine
- Fines, when given, are tiny. The average fine is just over £6000
- Last year there were 720 landfill pollution incidents impacting on water and air quality
Offences related to Radioactive Substances
- In real terms ONLY an average of 3.8 fines are collected each year
Process Industry Regulation Offences:
- ONLY 14% of all cases result in a fine
- This year the number of successful prosecutions fell to the LOWEST SINCE 1999
Water Quality Offences
- Just over half these offences result in a fine
- Again the average fine is ONLY just over £6000
Commenting, Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, said:
"Flytipping is a major problem that Liberal Democrats have been warning about for years.
"But the Government is completely failing to prosecute polluters and is not punishing environmental offences severely enough.
"The Tories meanwhile would only make the problem worse, with their plans to slash the Environment Agency's budget for environmental protection."
"Last year only 0.6% of landfill pollution incidents were fined. Tiny fines, or no fines at all, will do nothing to discourage corporations from polluting. Enforcement notices are not worth the paper they are printed on.
"We need a specialist environmental court that will be able to prosecute more cases successfully and effectively.
"The punishment of environmental offences must fit the seriousness of the crimes. Pollution seriously affects the quality of life of thousands of people across Britain. I doubt Ministers would be so lax if they were living near landfill sites or suffering the health impacts of illegal pollution.
"The Government must stop polluters getting away with green murder."