Fines for landfill pollution soar

The average fine for pollution from landfill sites almost doubled between 2000-03 and 2004-06, suggesting the courts are taking offences more seriously.

Data on successful prosecutions for "releases of pollution from landfills" were revealed in June following a parliamentary question by Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne.1 The data show the number of successful prosecutions, the total fines issued and the average fine.

They include offences committed under the Water Resources Act 1991, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000. They include fines for odour problems and leachate releases into water courses, but also include offences related to breaches of a landfill site’s licence or permit - offences that may not relate to pollution releases.

Between 2000 and 2003, the average fine was never above £10,000. However, since then it has been as high as £16,500. The maximum fine each year has also increased significantly.

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