HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 c780W
Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the problems caused by delays in enforcement action being taken against(a) companies and (b) households discharging pollutants into waterways. [129869]

Mr. Morley

The Environment Agency (the Agency) has powers to ensure that preventative or remedial action is taken to protect the environment or to secure compliance with relevant legislation such as the Water Resources Act 1991 (as amended by the Environment Act 1995), which makes provision regarding discharges to controlled waters. The enforcement action taken by the Agency will be proportionate to the risks posed to the environment and to the seriousness of any breach of the law. The Agency's powers for prosecution are used when it is satisfied that there is sufficient, admissible and reliable evidence that the offence has been committed and that there is a realistic prospect of conviction.