By Paul Davies, Michael Green and Alice Gunn

Powerday plc was issued a record fine in April this year for offences relating to operations involving over 17,000 tonnes of waste deposited and stored illegally. Powerday – one of the biggest waste-management companies in the South-East of England – pleaded guilty and was subsequently fined £1 million, in addition to £243,955 in costs by the court.

This case is demonstrable of the courts’ increasing willingness to issue significant fines for environmental offences. Whilst notable, the Powerday case (and fine) is no longer uncommon – Yorkshire Water faced a similar fine for sewage pollution offences this year while Thames Water was found guilty in January this year of two counts of breaching environmental regulations, resulting in a £1 million fine plus additional costs.