Environmental Offences

Environmental regulation is a complex and fast-moving area of law. Keeping up to date with new requirements can be challenging but farming businesses need to be aware of and adhere to the evolving law. The penalties for failing to do so can be severe, including significant fines and a criminal conviction. Breaches of environmental regulations, especially when they gain public attention, also have the potential to cause substantial reputational damage to your business, and impact your relationships with other businesses and the local community

The majority of criminal prosecutions are carried out by the Environment Agency and include offences such as causing pollution, knowingly permitting pollution, failure to comply with a notice or breaching a statutory duty. Intensifying public focus on environmental protections and the condition of land and, in particular, waterways, and the fact that almost everyone now carries a mobile phone with a camera, mean that breaches of environmental regulations are very much more likely to be reported and investigated than previously.

Our expert Rural team closely monitors developments in environmental law and has wide-ranging experience in advising farmers and agricultural businesses on how to respond to complaints, enquiries and supporting them in any resulting prosecutions.

It is important to note that in the eyes of the law, it does not have to be the farmer or business owner themself who has personally breached a regulation. Farmers and agricultural businesses can be held liable for the acts of their employees, and senior managers / directors may be held liable where the company is not liable.

Our Rural team works closely with our criminal defence colleagues to advise clients on all aspects of environmental law cases. We will help you develop the most suitable approach in any case and support you in achieving the best possible outcome for your farm or business, including developing strategies that may enable you to avoid prosecution.


Chris Andrews

Head of Criminal Defence

Abi Lutey

Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution

Pam Johns

Head of Rural Services

News & Events

Key contact

Chris Andrews

Head of Criminal Defence

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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