Consultation on strengthening environmental civil sanctions

Closed 15 May 2023

Opened 4 Apr 2023


Protecting our natural environment is a government priority. Strengthening regulations that enable polluters to be held to account is one piece of the wider plan in reducing pollution to protect biodiversity and the ecology of our rivers and seas.  

The government wants to strengthen the abilities of the Environment Agency (EA) to issue monetary penalties for environmental offences in England and to raise the cap for such penalties. This will involve:

  • increasing the overall cap for variable monetary penalties in the Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010 from its current amount of £250,000
  • introducing powers to issue variable monetary penalties for breaches of environmental permits into the Environmental Permitting Regulations.

The options for change to the cap for consultation are to raise the cap to £25 million, to £250 million or to have no cap at all with unlimited penalties.

This consultation seeks input on changes that would raise the variable monetary penalty cap and introduce variable monetary penalties into the Environmental Permitting Regulations to increase the EA’s ability to take action on environmental offences.

Why your views matter

This is an opportunity to influence how the government will strengthen the abilities of the Environment Agency (EA) to issue monetary penalties for environmental offences in England. We are seeking your views to help determine the cap that will be applied to variable monetary penalties for environmental pollution offences and the types of environmental offences to which these penalties will apply.

What happens next

After the consultation closes, the government will review the responses and publish a response within 12 weeks. 

Following the publication of the Government Response, the Statutory Instruments will be laid in Parliament and the legislative updates will be implemented. 


  • Environmental campaigners
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Waste Management Companies
  • Beach Users


  • Natural environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Waste and recycling
  • Water quality
  • Water conservation
  • Bathing waters
  • Sewerage
  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Local environments
  • Pollution Sector
  • Conservation
  • Water Abstraction
  • Domestic Waste Water Systems
  • Watercourse maintenance
  • Water Act
  • Marine Conservation
  • Water Industry charging
  • Water Industry licencing
  • Pigs
  • Poultry
  • Nitrates and watercourses
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Inland waterways
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Conservation
  • Recreational sector