The recent release of a new Parliamentary POSTnote (first published 31st January) has been much awaited by renewable energy, waste management and supply chain industry leaders, all reliant on the agreement of a universal definition for environmental crimes to operate with complete clarity worldwide.
Carefully collated, comprised from interviews and literature reviews from a range of stakeholders, this POSTnote attempts to outline modern environmental crimes and troubleshoot for prevention and preservation with both UK and EU in context.
Currently, the European Commission defines environmental crime as “acts that breach environmental legislation and cause significant harm or risk to the environment and human health.” But as the POSTnote makes clear, the result of Brexit means decisions are yet to be made regarding whether or not the UK will transpose relevant EU legislation into UK law or instead become a participant in allied treaties.
Whatever the outcome, the evaluation of environmental crime and its ability to undermine the Government’s management of resources remains the same, as the two main crimes in Europe (including the UK) have not changed. Waste and wildlife crime are low risk, high profit and extremely difficult to prevent. Environmental crimes are hard to prosecute due to a lack of detail in detection and incoherent laws across borders.
The POSTnote also addresses the fact that measures to tackle environmental crime are under resourced and have been for some time. To highlight this, it compares waste and wildlife crimes to other crimes occurring across the globe. It suggests that tackling the problem requires better collaboration with the Wildlife Justice Commission.
The issue of fly-tipping and its cost to local authorities (£50m to £150 million each year) was keenly acknowledged in this report but the matter of the private parties responsible for dealing with vast amounts of illegal waste deposits was quickly brushed over by pointing elsewhere. This is slightly disappointing, considering private landowners can be fined £5,000 and a further £500 per day if they don’t remove fly-tipped waste from their property immediately, at their own expense.
More serious crimes have been linked to illegal acts against human health and the environment though, such as human trafficking and the drugs and arms trade, so understandably these were fundamental focus points throughout. According to Interpol, even the funding of terrorist organisations has been connected to large scale environmental crimes.
If you would like to read the report in full (which we strongly suggest you do), please feel free to click here. And when you are finished, tweet your comments and critiques to @BroadGroupLtd to join today’s discussion.
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