Advice on Environment Agency Investigations
The Environment Agency (EA) is a powerful regulator, it has the ability to independently investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses without limitation. It can also order individuals and businesses to stop doing something, or order them to comply with regulations in order to protect the environment. The Environment Agency can issue fixed penalty fines, make civil sanctions and seize assets and documents. It can force a business to pay a penalty for failing to comply with orders. The EA can also ask the Court to disqualify directors, make a confiscation order or apply to a court for a business or individual to forfeit equipment.
To deal with the Environment Agency you need a law firm who understand:
- You and your business
- The Environment Agency and its powers and procedures
- Civil law
- Criminal law
The regulatory department at Ison Harrison have the experience necessary to deal with EA investigations. We have dealt with cases involving:
- Stop notices: We can advise on the validity of a Stop Notice and assist in removing the notice
- Enforcement Undertakings: Where accidents happen, we can assist in ensuring that a prosecution does not follow by exploring the possibility of an Enforcement Undertaking
- Compliance Notices, Restoration Notices and Non-Compliance Penalty Notices
- Criminal Investigations and Interviews Under Caution
- Confiscation Proceedings
Firstly, where possible, we will always do everything we can to ensure that we can demonstrate your compliance with the regulations and avoid a prosecution or sanction. We can offer advice on compliance and record keeping for businesses who wish to avoid the possibility of an investigation and on evidencing compliance for those who are being investigated.
However, if an investigation has commenced, we will fight to ensure that there are no sanctions against you or your business by showing, for example, that any breach was not intentional and steps had been taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.
If there has been a serious breach, or repeated minor breaches and the EA are considering a prosecution we will fight to ensure that a civil sanction is offered, or a formal caution. The EA have extremely wide powers including the power to impose civil sanctions for criminal offences. It pays to have the right advice from the right law firm in cases involving the Environment Agency.
If you have been summonsed to court or asked to attend an interview under caution, please contact an expert without delay. Environmental prosecutions are criminal in nature and subject to the same procedure as ‘ordinary’ criminal offences. The maximum sentence for most offences is a two-year prison sentence (for individuals / directors) and an unlimited fine.