Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan has called for greater powers and tougher punishments to aid with post-Brexit regulation during his speech at a Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum conference on future environmental standards. In discussing Brexit, he suggested a different approach to thinking is needed, and regulators should start by speaking softly. If that approach fails, Bevan went on to say the regulator should also have greater powers.
“So the future model I’d like to see would also carry a much bigger stick. It would make regulated industries pay the full cost of their regulation. They currently don’t: quite a lot of it is subsidised by the taxpayer. It would make them pay the full cost of repairing any damage they do to the environment: they currently don’t do that either. And the model would carry much tougher punishment for the biggest and worst polluters. In cases of extremely harmful and reckless pollution – and we’ve seen far too much of that in the last few years – that would include fines so large they would put a major dent in companies’ bottom lines and sentences that would put their bosses in jail. That would greatly concentrate the minds of Boards and Chief Executives and have a powerful deterrent effect.”