Stricter Sentencing For Waste Crime Comes Into Force

01-07-14(5)picTougher sentencing for criminals of environmental and waste offences, such as such as illegal waste handling and illegal waste export, has come into force as of today (1 July). 

The Sentencing Council published guidance in February this year, which set out a stance of tougher sentencing for criminals of environmental offences ­– covering fly-tipping and serious waste crime such as illegal waste export.

The guidance was introduced due to address a lack of familiarity, particularly among magistrates, with sentencing these offences and because following their review of current sentencing practice, the Council concluded that the levels of some fines were too low and did not reflect the seriousness of the offence committed.

Courts have been encouraged to make more use of the highest levels of fines for some of the more serious offences that come before the courts.

Corporate offenders committing serious offences, who are likely to be those causing most damage or risk to health, are also expected to receive higher fines.


Publication of the guideline followed a public consultation in 2013 and took into account views from those who responded, such as judges and magistrates, lawyers, environmental professionals, local authorities, the waste industry and members of the public.

A number of changes were made as a result of feedback, including creating separate guidelines for offences committed by organisations and those committed by individuals.

Elements of the sentencing process have also been put into separate steps to ensure all relevant factors are considered in assessing the right level of penalty.

Consultation feedback suggested that that the general principles in the guideline could also be applied more widely to further environmental offences such as the unlawful treatment or disposal of waste.

While the sentencing levels set out would not be used, the general approach can be applied.


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For the Definitive Guideline CLICK HERE


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