A Welsh wildlife charity has received a donation of £1000 from a Carmarthenshire businessman after Environment Agency Wales used its civil sanction powers for fisheries offences for the first time.
In 2010, Environment Agency Wales discovered that effluent from a Carmarthenshire poultry unit owned by Mr Benjamin Hay was discharging into a nearby river, potentially harming the local fish population.
He offered the Agency a civil sanction, which they accepted, and made a donation of £1000 to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
The Agency was granted civil sanction powers in 2011, and these powers provide the Agency with new ways to protect and improve the environment for certain offences.
Since 2011, four civil sanctions have been accepted in Wales, resulting in donations of over £21,000 to Welsh charities.
Civil sanctions enable the Agency to make the punishment fit the crime and support legitimate businesses that are trying to do the right thing.
There are six different types of civil sanctions, and in each of the cases above an ‘enforcement undertaking’ has been accepted to allow steps to be taken to make amends for the affects of an incident.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales also benefited from one of these previous cases and received a separate donation of £1,500.
The Trust plans to spend the donations on a community education programme and towards a programme to tackle non-native species such as Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed.
Jon Willington, from Environment Agency Wales said:
“Civil sanctions provide a different solution to tackling environmental offences.
“They offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to give something back to the community to redress the damage they have caused.
“In this case, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has received a valuable financial benefit, which they will be able to use to deliver direct improvements to the local environment.”
Mr. Benjamin Hay said:
"Civil sanctions have the potential to provide a real benefit for both business and the environment when compared to traditional enforcement options.
“Working with my specialist advisors Burges Salmon and with the Environment Agency Wales, we have arrived at an innovative solution that will have a direct and positive impact on the local environment and community."
For more information about the Agency’s civil sanction powers please visit http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/regulation/116844.aspx