If you have just discovered the Packaging Waste Directive, there is a possible alternative method to offset your historic obligations from previous years known as a ‘civil sanction’.

The cost of civil sanctions can range vastly, but in 2011 some amounts donated using the method ranged from £1,919 to £25,000. The Environment Agency defines a civil sanction as follows:

“Civil Sanctions provide us with new ways to protect the environment. They focus on investment in environmental clean-up rather than paying fines.

Civil sanctions do not replace any of our current enforcement tools. They provide us with a more flexible range so that we can choose the most appropriate enforcement action when an offence occurs.

We will still prosecute serious offenders, but we will be able to use alternative sanctions with legitimate businesses who are trying to do the right thing. They will be able to put right the damage they have done and local communities will see a direct improvement in the environment as a result.”

The type of civil sanction that your company would propose to offset historic non-compliance issues would be an enforcement undertaking.

What is an enforcement undertaking?

An enforcement undertaking is an offer, formally accepted by the Environment Agency, to take steps that would make amends for non-compliance and its effects.

Those who breach environmental regulation can, where an Enforcement Undertaking is available for that breach, set out how they propose to put the matter right. If the EA accept their proposals, the Enforcement Undertaking becomes a legally binding voluntary agreement.

The Enforcement Undertaking must identify the steps the business will take to put right any harm caused. It can also include providing compensation for the local community. It must identify what the business will do to return to compliance, in both the immediate and long term.

How do I propose an enforcement undertaking offer?

Simply complete an Offer Form (download here) and submit it to the Environment Agency or through Co2Compliance. If you’re unsure of the kind of offer to make, Co2Compliance has a list of recent offers accepted by the Environment Agency. Simply contact us at info@co2compliance.co.uk

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