Cattle In Shed
Hannah Leese - Regulatory team

Environmental law

Environmental law aims to strike a balance between the competing interests of property owners/businesses and the environmental concerns of the public.

Environmental law encompasses many different aspects for example, waste management, nuisance (e.g. smells and noise); air and water pollution, spills/contamination issues and many more. This is particularly relevant for farmers and food businesses. More specifically, on-farm compliance with environmental regulations is a daily consideration. For example:-

  • Waste specific to farms, such as plastic silage wrap, must be disposed of in a particular way.
  • Many farmers use fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, which if not used correctly, can cause water pollution.
  • There are many farms with old buildings which still have corrugated asbestos sheets, for which the removal and disposal is regulated.

Nuisance in particular is an issue which farmers and food businesses may come up against. Farms and food businesses naturally produce noise and smells which can cause nuisance to neighbours and members of the public. In cases of nuisance, a farmer or food business can find themselves simultaneously the subject of a civil claim by the affected party and enforcement action by the regulator, usually either the Council or the Environment Agency.

Where action by the regulator is concerned, they will generally consider utilising the range of civil sanctions that it has available to it before commencing criminal proceedings.  These comprise of fixed monetary penalties, variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, restoration notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings.  Where the regulator considers that criminal proceedings are necessary it can impose a Fixed Penalty Notice, a formal caution or commence a criminal prosecution.

At Roythornes we have recognised experts in both our Civil Litigation and Regulatory teams who are experienced in representing clients who are the subject of civil claims and regulatory enforcement action, as well as clients who wish to bring a claim which has an environmental law aspect.

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