HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 c2W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to spend the money raised by fining polluters on environmental improvements. [75144]

Alun Michael

Pollution is tightly regulated under a range of legislation. For example, industrial activities with a significant polluting potential must prevent or minimise emissions by applying the "Best Available Techniques", in accordance with the new Pollution Prevention and Control regime (The Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000). Where polluters are prosecuted in the Courts, any fines that might be imposed are paid to the Exchequer. These payments are not ring-fenced for environmental improvement purposes but imposed by the Courts as a penalty. The Courts can also order payment of regulators' costs.

As regards the Pollution Prevention and Control regime, in line with the "polluter pays" principle, polluting companies are required to meet the cost of any necessary improvements and fees in relation to the cost of regulation. There is also a provision under the Pollution Prevention and Control legislation enabling regulators, in certain circumstances, to require operators to prevent or remedy the effects of pollution at their own expense and to recover the costs where the regulator itself arranges for the work to be done.

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