Despite government rhetoric around tackling climate change, the number of environmental prosecutions has dropped dramatically, NationalWorld’s Aimee Stanton can reveal.
Oil and petrol leaks, human sewage in rivers, radioactive waste, fly-tipping – these are just a few of the shocking reasons thousands of companies and individuals have been prosecuted for environmental crimes in England and Scotland.
But new analysis by NationalWorld can reveal that prosecutions have fallen off a cliff edge in recent years, leading to fears that ”savage” government cuts have left lawbreaking polluters escaping punishment.
According to official Environment Agency data analysed by NationalWorld, prosecutions of companies and organisations for environmental crime in England plummeted 86% between 2000 and 2019. The number of charges also fell by 84% during the same period. A single prosecution could involve multiple charges.
Emma Montlake, case director of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), echoed Friends of the Earth's position on funding.
Ms Montlake said: “These are shocking statistics but are reflected in the situation on the ground and in our heavily polluted inland and coastal waters
“The drop in prosecutions appears to tie in with the massive drop in central funding of the Environment Agency and sadly as a consequence of this ELF is seeing an erosion in the trust of the public that the regulator is able to do its job properly.”
As “freedom day” in England approaches on 19 July, Covid reporter Claire Schofield runs down the parts of the country with the most cases.
She writes: “Health experts have warned that Covid-19 related deaths could surge to 200 per death once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“The warning comes ahead of England’s ‘freedom day’ on 19 July, which will see the remaining coronavirus measures removed in the final stage of the lockdown roadmap.
“Covid-19 cases and deaths are expected to rise significantly once restrictions are removed, despite the protection offered by the successful vaccination campaign, with more than 52 per cent of the UK population now fully vaccinated. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will set out their own plans for easing restrictions, but experts are urging caution as freedoms are restored.
The best summer getaway locations
And for those of you thinking about a late-summer staycation, NationalWorld reporter Carly Roberts has the lowdown on the top UK destinations.
For the first time, North Wales and Cumbria have beaten Cornwall and Devon in the staycation rankings.
Research shows Brits on average will take two holidays this summer – and their main wants and needs are: outside space, good proximity to the beach and decent quality WiFi, according to a poll by Sykes Holiday Cottages with 17,000 rentals.
Data from the annual 2021 Staycation Index has revealed that nearly two-thirds of Brits plan to spend their main summer break in the UK in 2021 – up from 50% in 2019.
North Wales, Cornwall and Cumbria are the three most popular destinations, while the Peak District, Somerset and East Anglia are the fastest growing.