§ LORD O'HAGAN
asked Her Majesty's Government:
(1) What are the penalties for polluting the environment under these head-ings—
- (b)fresh water,
- (c)territorial sea,
(2) How many prosecutions and convictions under each of these headings there were last year (or in the most recent period of a year for which figures are available).
(3) Whether they will publish figures showing the sentences and penal-ties imposed under each of these headings in that period.
§ LORD KENNET
Penalties for polluting the environment are imposed by legislation dealing with the source of pollution rather than the element being polluted. The information set out below is arranged accordingly.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION: PENALTY PROVISIONS Alkali etc. Works Regulation Act 1906 Section Offence Maximum Fine 1 and 6 Exceeding limit of muriatic acid, sulphuric acid etc. in emission from alkali work. £50 first offence. £100 subsequent offence. 2 and 7 Failure to use best practical means for preventing emissions from alkali work. £20 first offence. £50 subsequent offence plus £5 per day for continuing offence. 3 Failure to separate acids etc. from waste £50 first offence. £100 subsequent offence plus £5 per day for continuing offence. 4 Nuisance from alkali waste £20 first offence. £50 subsequent offence plus £5 per day for continuing offence.
Section Offence Maximum Fine 5 Failure to comply with abatement notice £20 plus £5 per day for continuing offence. 9 Failure to register alkali works £50. 12 Obstructing Alkali Inspector in execution of his duty £10. Any other offence £100 or £20 per day for continuing offence.
Public Health Act 1936 Offences under Part III (Statutory Nuisance) £20 or (if nuisance order previously made) £50 plus £5 per day for continuing offence.
Public Health (Scotland) Act 1897 Nuisances arising from:— 36(1) Any trade, business, process or manufacture £50. 22 Wilful fault or culpable negligence for which notice had been served. £20. 24 Failure to comply with decree £2 per day. 24 Infringement of interdict £5 per day. 24 Failure to comply with a decree for certain specified nuisances (e.g. any work, manufactory, trade or business injurious to health of the neighbourhood). £20 first offence. £50 second offence. Double the preceding penalty up to £200 for subsequent offences.
Clean Air Act 1956 1 Emission of dark smoke from a chimney of a private dwelling. £20. Emission of dark smoke from any other chimney £100. 3(3) Installation of new furnace without notice to local authority. £20. 11 Emission of smoke from chimney of building in smoke control area. £20. 26 Unjustified disclosure of information relating to manufacturing processes or trade secrets. £100 and/or 3 months imprison-ment. Any other offence £100.
Clean Air Act 1968 9 Sale or acquisition of coal for use in a smoke control area. £20. Any other offence £100.
The control of smoke, vapour, sparks, ashes or grit let into the atmosphere by motor vehicle exhaust emissions is set out in Regulations 24, 25, 26, 84 and 85 of the Motor Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1969, made by the Minister of Transport in exercise of his powers under Section 64(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1960.
Under Section 64(2) of the Act, as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1962 and the Road Safety Act 1967, the maximum fines which may be imposed on summary conviction for using or causing or permitting the use of a motor vehicle, in contravention of these regulations is £50. In the case of a goods vehicle a maximum fine of £200 may be imposed if certain of the parts of the vehicle are declared to be found likely to cause danger by reason of their condition.
RIVERS (PREVENTION OF POLLUTION) ACTS
1951–1961 (applicable to rivers, streams, watercourses and certain inland waters, and in certain cases to tidal waters).
For causing or knowingly permitting the use of a stream for disposal of polluting matter or for making an illegal discharge of trade or sewage effluent: when the case is dealt with summarily—£100; for continuing offences 3 months' imprisonment and/or a fine of £100, or £10 daily whichever is greater; on conviction on indictment—£200 for offences under 548WA the 1951 Act or a fine without limit for offences under the 1961 Act; for continuing offences—6 months' imprisonment and/or a fine of £500, or £50 daily, whichever is the greater.
The prescribed penalties apply to corporate bodies as well as to any individuals associated with them who are guilty of consent, connivance or neglect.
For causing pollution by cutting weeds and allowing (without the river authority's consent), substantial amounts of cut or uprooted vegetation to remain in a stream; and for releasing the deposit accumulated behind a weir or sluice, without such consent or some statutory power —£50.
For offences against bye-laws made under section 5.1(b) of the 1951 Act (rubbish dumping)—£50.
For offences against bye-laws made under section 5.1(c) of the 1951 Act (pollution from boat lavatories)—£50 and for continuing offences £5 daily.
WATER RESOURCES ACT 1963, SECTION 72 (applicable to ground water).
For making an illegal discharge of trade or sewage effluent or other poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to underground strata by means of well, borehole or pipe: when the case is dealt with summarily—£100; on conviction on indictment—a fine without limit.549WA
WATER ACT 1945, SECTION 21:
For polluting water used or likely to be used for human consumption: on summary conviction—£50; for continuing offences—£5 daily; on conviction on indictment—£200; for continuing offences—£20 daily.
WATER ACT 1945, SECTION 18; WATER RESOURCES ACT 1963, SECTION 79; COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1968, SECTION 22:
For offences against bye-laws (designed to protect water resources)—£20; or for continuing offences—£5 daily.
RIVERS (PREVENTION OF POLLUTION) (SCOT-LAND) ACTS 1951 AND 1965:
The offences under these Acts are com-parable to those applying in England. The principal penalties, however, are as follows:
- (a) on summary conviction—
- (i) a fine not exceeding £100; and
- (ii) in the case of an offence repeated or continued after a first conviction a further fine of £20 for every day on which the offence is repeated, up to a maximum of £200 or imprisonment for three months or both such fine and imprisonment, and
- (b) on conviction on indictment—
- (i) a fine not exceeding £100; and
- (ii) in the case of an offence repeated or continued after a first conviction a further fine of £100 for every day on which the offence is repeated or imprisonment for six months or both such fine and imprisonment.
The penalty for allowing vegetation to remain in a stream etc. and the penalties for offences against bye-laws are the same as in England.
WATER (SCOTLAND) ACT 1946, SECTION 21:
For polluting water belonging to a regional water board of which they are authorised to take; on summary conviction—£20 in respect of each offence and a further £5 for each day during which the offence continues.
SALMON AND FRESHWATER FISHERIES ACTS 1923–65:
Section 8(1) of the 1923 Act covers the putting into water of liquid or solid matter to such an extent as to cause the water to be poisonous or injurious to fish, etc. The penalties under Section 74 are a fine not exceeding £50 and in the case of continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding £5 for every date during which the offence is continued after conviction. In the case of third or subsequent offence, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months in lieu of fine.
Section 1 of the 1965 Act prohibits, inter alia, the use of any poison or noxious sub-stance with intent to take or destroy fish. The penalties for contravention are:
- (a) on summary conviction—imprison-ment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding £50, or in the case of a second or subsequent conviction imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding £100 or both;
- (b) on conviction on indictment— imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine or both.
In Scotland there are a number of penalties for polluting rivers under the Freshwater Fisheries legislation; the original purpose of the legislation was to prevent poaching not pollution.
SOLWAY SALMON FISHERIES ACT 1804, SECTION 12:
For killing fish with hot lime, etc.—a penalty of £5 for the first, £15 for the second and £20 for the third and every subsequent offence.
SALMON FISHERIES (SCOTLAND) ACT 1862, SECTION 13:
For putting into any river containing salmon any liquid or solid matter 'poisonous or deleterious to salmon or to any extent injurious to any salmon fishery—the maximum penalty for a first offence is £5; for the second £10, and a further penalty not exceeding £2 for every day during which such offence is continued; for third and subsequent offences the maximum line is £20 and a further penalty not exceeding £5 for every day during which the offence is continued.
SALMON FISHERIES (SCOTLAND) ACT 1868, SECTION 15(7):
For allowing any sawdust, or any chaff or any shelling or corn into any river—a maxi-mum penalty of £5 plus a penalty not exceeding £2 for every salmon taken or killed illegally; any salmon taken to be forfeited.
Section 4 prohibits, inter alia, the use of any poison or noxious substance with intent to take or destroy fish. The penalties; for contravention are:
- (a)on summary conviction—a fine not exceeding £50 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, a fine not exceeding £100 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both such fine and imprisonment;
- (b)on conviction on indictment—a fine not exceeding £500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both such fine and imprisonment.
There are special provisions covering the border rivers Tweed and Esk.
OIL IN NAVIGABLE WATERS ACTS 1955 AND 1963:
The maximum penalty for discharging oil or oily mixture into the United Kingdom territorial sea and any other United Kingdom waters, (including inland waters) which are navigable by sea-going ships, is a fine of £1,000 on summary conviction. There is no limit to the fine which may be imposed on:onviction on indictment.
Sea Fisheries Committees established under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 are empowered to make bye-laws prohibiting or 551WA regulating the discharge of deposit or any solid or liquid substance detrimental to sea fish or sea fishing. Of the 11 Sea Fisheries Committees in England and Wales, 2 prohibit discharges while 9 allow discharges by consents issued after scientific evaluation of applications.
The penalties for contravention of a bye-law, which would include discharging detrimental substances without consent, are, for a first offence—a fine not exceeding £50; and for second and subsequent offences—a fine not exceeding £100.
PROSECUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS IN 1968 FOR OFFENCES RELATING TO POLLUTION (Information available in central Government Departments only) Persons found guilty Act under which proceedings taken Number of persons proceeded against Charge withdrawn or dismissed Total Fined Otherwise dealt with Otherwise disposed of Alkali etc. Works Regulation Act 1906 —in England 1 — 1 1 — — —in Scotland Nil — — — — — Clean Air Acts 1956 and 1968 —in England 112 8 103 93 10 1 —in Scotland 161 4 157 134 23 — Regulations 24, 25, 26, 84 and 85 of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1969 2,672 68 2,582 2,510 72 22 Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Acts 1951 and 1960 33 6 25 23 2 2 Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Acts 1951 and 1965 3 — 3 3 — — Oil in Navigable Waters Act 1955, section 3 —prosecutions by Board of Trade✶ Nil — — — — — —prosecutions by Harbour Authorities 64 2 62 62† — — Radioactive Substances Act 1960 —in England 1 — 1 1 — — —in Scotland and Wales Nil — — — — — * During 1969 the Board of Trade brought summary proceedings, against two vessels for discharging oil into the territorial sea. The masters were fined £150 and £500 respectively. † Of these, 34 were fined less than £100, 9 from £100 to £199, 10 from £200 to £299, and 9 £300 or over, including one fine of the £1,000 maximum. N.B. This table is complete for the provisions shown. Information on prosecutions and convictions for other offences relating to pollution is not available.
House adjourned at twelve minutes before eight o'clock.552WA
The penalties for unauthorised disposal of radioactive waste are:
- (a) on summary conviction—a fine not exceeding £100 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or both;
- (b) on conviction on indictment—a fine, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.
Enforcement of pollution legislation is, in a large number of cases, the responsibility of local authorities. The following table refers only to prosecutions and convictions in 1968 of which records are available centrally.