Best and worst environmental behaviour announced

The
Environment Agency has named the best and worst environmental behaviour by
businesses in England and Wales.

Significant
repeat offenders in 2002 include United Utilities (£327,500), Anglian Water Services
(£285,000), Thames Water Utilities (£135,000), BP Oil (£60,000), TotalFinaElf
(£54,000), 3C Waste (£17,000) and Tesco Stores (£10,000).

All
were top offenders in 2001. Many are UK stock market-listed companies and claim
to be leaders in corporate social responsibility.

The
agency warns that higher fines and more prosecutions are failing to stop
multi-million pound businesses committing environmental crimes.

It
said that despite fines increasing by 36 per cent and prosecutions by 13 per
cent, the average fine per prosecution rose to just £8,744.

Overall,
there has been a 21 per cent cut in serious pollution incidents caused by
businesses (down from 1,854 in 2001 to 1,468 in 2002), as well as significant
reductions in emissions of key pollutants.

Barbara
Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: "Courts are
getting tougher on environmental offenders – but fines are still small change
for big businesses. The Environment Agency is leading the world in developing
new and inventive ways to help encourage environmentally-sound behaviour by big
businesses."

The
Environment Agency also singled out businesses for environmental achievements,
congratulating French-Kier Anglia, Farwood Barton Farm, East Clyffe Farm,
Rockwool and Hamilton Designs (Furniture) for a range of positive actions to
reduce their impact on the environment.

www.environment-agency.gov.uk

By Quentin Reade

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