The brouhaha over the level of fines imposed on Friday following the 2005 Buncefield oil depot disaster was not unexpected. This was despite the penalties being the largest ever imposed by a British court for an environmental offence.
St Albans crown court fined three companies a total of £5.38m for polluting groundwater, for health and safety law violations and for breaching the major hazards control (COMAH) regulations. The environmental component totalled £1.35m. Together with prosecution and investigation costs, the full bill imposed on the firms came to £9.43m. (more…)
This afternoon, ENDS heard from a senior source at the Environment Agency that the regulator will start using civil sanctions from December. This is some time after the previously expected date.
Civil sanctions give the regulator a wider range of powers to enforce the law, bypassing the courts. (more…)
Yesterday the Independent Climate Change Email inquiry published its findings, the most important being that climate science is (still) not in doubt. The so-called Climategate review led by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell was set up to investigate allegations against climate scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. These emerged following the unauthorised release of about 1,000 CRU emails last November.