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Environment Agency boss: Post-Brexit flexibility needed to crack down on corporate environmental crime

Environment Agency boss: Post-Brexit flexibility needed to crack down on corporate environmental crime

This morning, the boss of the Environment Agency will call on the UK to take advantage of its independence from the EU to impose harsher penalties and more severe sentences for companies that violate environmental regulations.

Sir James Bevan will address the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum and argue that Brexit offers the UK a significant opportunity to impose harsher penalties on firms that violate environmental standards.

He will argue that a “bigger sticks” approach would reduce costs for taxpayers, deliver better results for businesses, and allow the UK government to move faster towards its environmental goals.

He will tell conference attendees that “now we have left the EU, we have a great chance to rethink complete how we protect and enhance natural resources.” “We could create a new model that would simultaneously improve the environment, deliver better results for businesses, and cost less for taxpayers,” he said.

He proposes that regulators are given more power to punish companies that break environmental laws. This vision would see regulated industries being forced to pay the “full costs” of any damage they cause to the environment while the “biggest or worst polluters,” face harsher punishments.

Bevan will say that he would like to see penalties “so high they would put a major hit on companies’ bottom lines” and sentences that would send their bosses to jail in the most extreme cases of pollution or environmental damage.

Bevan will also argue that the full cost for environmental regulation should be paid by the regulated industry, rather than being passed on to the taxpayer.

He will state that it is essential to reduce the impact of climate change through carbon emissions. Regulating is essential if we are to mitigate. But it is also true that we don’t have the right regulation. Our regulations in this country can and should be adjusted to reflect the new environment.

He will also argue for Regulations post-Brexit to be “proportionate and risk-based” and outcome-focused, noting that some EU legislation can be too prescriptive or overly detailed.

The intervention comes as the Environment Agency is being criticized. Some campaigners argue that its budgets, resources and enforcement capabilities are not adequate.

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