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Civil sanctions were introduced as an alternative to prosecution where a business has not been compliant with the packaging regulations. It means that businesses based in England and Wales who have been non-compliant with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations since 06 April 2010 can avoid the courts by securing an enforcement undertaking.
The Environment Agency has three options for dealing with businesses that are non-compliant with the packaging regulations.
1. An enforcement undertaking, which enables non-compliant businesses to offer a sum of money to a suitable environmental project in compensation.
2. A variable monetary fine of up to £250,000 based on the nature and severity of the offence.
3. Criminal prosecution for the most severe offences.
An enforcement undertaking is a legally-binding voluntary offer that is submitted to the Environment Agency. Accepting an enforcement undertaking is at the discretion of the Environment Agency who could still decide to prosecute if they are not satisfied with the information and evidence put forward.
When submitting an enforcement undertaking, businesses must provide evidence on how they are taking the process seriously, detailing what has been done to become compliant now and in the future.
They must also put forward an offer of compensation to a nominated environmental project for the amount saved, by not registering and by avoiding prosecution.
When offering an enforcement undertaking, the company or individual is required to focus upon accepting culpability, demonstrating restoration of harm and ensuring future compliance as well as making a suitable offer to pay an appropriate environmental charity.
We have helped many businesses to avoid criminal prosecution by completing and submitting enforcement undertakings on their behalf. We can help you to prepare an enforcement undertaking, guiding you through the process from start to finish.
We will assist you in preparing all relevant data and can offer advice on the appropriate value of compensation to award and relevant environmental projects to consider. Contact our specialist team for a confidential discussion about the options available to you.
If you think your company may have been obligated in previous years but has failed to comply with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations, you could be subject to enforcement action. It is vital to rectify any historic non-compliance proactively and before it’s identified by the Environment Agency.
If you know or suspect that someone should be registered under the packaging regulations but isn’t complying (a so-called ‘free rider’), you can submit their details to us in confidence, and we will forward the information anonymously to the appropriate environment agency.
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