Kochanski Energy Flash Environmental Offences

Tougher Penalties for Polluting the Environment

As of the beginning of September, an amending act introducing more severe penalties for polluting the environment came into force. The acts amended thereby include the Criminal Code, the Misdemeanours Code and the Nature Protection Act.

Although the title of the act suggests quite clearly that it is intended to counter environmental crime, the amendments have in fact also extended to minor cases of improper use of the environment.

Higher penalties for those who cause damage to the environment

The most important inclusion is the change of the range of penalties facing those committing offences against the environment.

The minimum and maximum prison sentences have been increased for acts such as:

  • Damaging plants or natural habitats,
  • Pollution of water, air and soil,
  • Improper handling of waste, endangering the environment,
  • Failure to maintain facilities protecting the environment from pollution in good condition.

Destroying nature? You will have to pay exemplary damages

Higher fines may also await all environmental polluters due to a modification of regulations on payment of exemplary damages for the benefit of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in the event of a conviction for an environmental offence.

Attempted littering in the forest will also be punishable

In addition, there has been an increase in the fines for:

  • Burning grass,
  • Littering in public  places,
  • Dumping debris, waste or scrap metal in forests or on agricultural land,
  • Otherwise polluting forests.

For many environmental misdemeanours, attempt and instigation have now become punishable. The court can now also order a restoration obligation.

Any questions? Contact the author

Katarzyna Ziółkowska