Environmental Audit Committee

12 February 2004 NEW INQUIRY

12 February 2004 NEW INQUIRY



Environmental crime covers a wide range of issues, such as waste, pollution, anti-social behaviour, and wildlife offences.  Environmental crimes affect significant numbers of people, while the range of laws governing such crimes crosses the public/private law divide. There is concern that too many environmental crimes go unprosecuted or insufficiently punished. 

The Environmental Audit Committee has appointed a Sub-committee which will examine how the Government and judiciary are helping to secure access to environmental justice in England and Wales. The Sub-committee intends to follow up its enquiry on environmental crime and the courts with a second inquiry looking at local environmental crime, in particular fly-tipping, fly-posting, litter, graffiti, noise and abandoned cars.

We are particularly seeking views on the following questions:

(1)  What is the scale of the impact of these crimes on the local environment?

(2)  Has there been a cultural change in attitudes to these kind of crimes and are they being treated more or less seriously than in the past?

(3)  Do responsible bodies who deal with the problem and its consequences have sufficient resources and powers to do so?

(4)  Is there sufficient dialogue and co-operation across Government and amongst the various bodies responsible for dealing with the problem at a local level?

(5) What alternatives exist for dealing with these types of crimes outside the criminal justice system?

(6) Does local environmental crime have a disproportionate impact on poorer and less advantaged sections of society?

The Committee would be grateful to receive memoranda from interested individuals and organisations relating to these issues.  Written evidence should be sent to the Clerk of the Sub-committee, Mr Mike Hennessy, by Monday 1st March 2003 by e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk. (with a hard copy by post).   A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee's web pages.

The Sub-committee plans, after this second inquiry, to hold inquiries into corporate environmental crime and wildlife crime.  Suggestions for further areas of environmental crime into which the Sub-committee could inquire would be gratefully received.