Cosmetics firm pays biggest civil penalty

27th January 2014

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  • Retail and wholesale ,
  • Waste ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Environment agencies


Joanna Kimber

Lancashire-based GR & MM Blackledge has paid £191,100 to a local wildlife charity in the largest civil sanction payment agreed so far with the Environment Agency

The cosmetics and toiletries retailer proposed the record donation to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust as part of an enforcement undertaking after being found in breach of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.

Enforcement undertakings (EUs) are an alternative to criminal prosecution for some environment offences, and are formal offers to make amends for the offence and any resulting impact on the environment.

The regulator has now published the details of the 17 EUs it agreed with companies between 1 May and 31 October 2013, revealing that the civil sanctions resulted in more than £460,000 being donated to wildlife charities in reparation for environmental offences.

The bulk of EUs, 11 of 17, were accepted for breaches of producer responsibility rules for packaging, similar to the offences committed by GR & MM Blackledge.

Other large settlements agreed include a £64,489 donation to the Hertforshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust by textiles importer Focus International, and a £52,000 payment to The Woodland Trust by Batt Cables, which describes itself as the UK's leading cable supplier and distributer.

High street retailers Kurt Geiger and tReds also agreed EUs with the agency for packaging offences, paying out £20,000 and £8,599 respectively to wildlife groups.

The agency also accepted two EUs for offences relating to the international shipment of waste, and two relating to water pollution, under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Meanwhile, Veolia ES Cleanaway, a subsidiary of waste services giant, agreed to donate £14,800 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and to improve the training of its staff, following a breach of the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005.


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