English courts urged to hit polluters hard

The Anglo-Welsh environment agency yesterday renewed its call for "fines that fit the crimes" against firms causing severe pollution, describing recent fines against large companies as "fleabites". Its annual review of corporate environmental performance showed a 50% rise in major water pollution incidents, largely caused by the agriculture and water sectors. Although the number of cases successfully brought by the agency increased, the average fine fell 21% to UK£6,410 (€10,128) in 2001. This was despite guidelines on sentencing being issued to magistrates last year (EED 28/09/01). See Business spotlight 2001.

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