Environmental Law - Essay Example

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Environmental Offences due to Pollution What is Pollution? The phrase “pollution “can be defined as something that is spoiled, unclean, or contaminated, or permanently damaged. If your health is affected due to emissions from nearby factory or if seashore is spoiled due to oil spill, then it can be termed as pollution…
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Environmental Law
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Download file to see previous pages As per RCEP ( Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution) , pollution is one, which has been introduced by human being into the environment of energy or substances, which is responsible to create an injury to health of human beings , hazards to ecological systems and living resources , harm to amenity , structure or interference with the lawful uses of the atmosphere2. Pollution is related with harms to health of humans, plants, property, habitats, animals and ecological structure. Pollution is not limited to the effect of chemical materials either on the environment or on human beings3. If chemical energy or substances are released into environment unauthorisedly, it would be tantamount to pollution under the environmental law. Thus, pollution can happen in the following ways. If a person or a legal person (company) releases energy or chemicals into the atmosphere in violation of its licence stipulations; If a person or a legal person (company) releases energy or chemicals into the atmosphere without obtaining any valid licence4. As per Keith Hawkins, pollution is a conception by the administration, and the regulator manages the issue of licenses, and it is having authority to decide, which discharge tantamount to pollution and if the discharge surpasses the licence conditions, then, that will be regarded as unlawful5. Offences under UK environmental laws fall under strict liability offences, and thus it minimises the onus on the prosecutor, and the defendant has to prove that there has been no infringement from his side to escape from the offence. In the early nineteenth century, when it was found that enforcement officials were lacking capability to assess the internal intricacies of business operations, the strict liability is introduced for environmental offences6. In UK, the environmental offences will fall under the category of strict liability offence. One of the salient features of strict liability offence is that it facilitates the prosecutor to punish a company for any environmental offences where the infringement was due to inaction or action of its employees, or due to failures of mechanical systems or other equipments7. In UK, there are about twenty-five environmental statutes specifically provide for initiating action against officers with regard to about 175 separate punishable offences under UK’s environmental law ,which may be perpetrated by the companies. For instance, the National Rivers Authority can recoup reasonable costs of mitigating or remedying pollution in groundwater or surface from the persons who have knowingly permitted or caused the threatened pollution or the pollution. The Environment Act 1995 authorises the costs to be recouped from the “appropriate persons” who have permitted or caused such pollution. Thus, the term “persons” include of course both the officers and the directors of the company8. Oil and Gas production and exploration is to adhere to its own environmental regulations. Environmental safeguard provisions are introduced in the exploration and development licences itself under s.4 of the Act9. Oil pollutions offences like releasing of oil mixture or oil into territorial waters of UK is a punishable crime under the above Act10. For instance, the US Environmental Protection Agency levies administrative penalties whereas the Department of Justice award criminal punishments for the most serious infringement. Likewise, under German laws, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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