In the News
Four directors of a carbon credit company have been banned for a total of forty-two years. Their company, World Future, sold voluntary emission reduction carbon credits (VERs) at highly inflated prices to members of the public as an investment. They netted at least £2,484,500 although the credits actually had no investment potential.
VERs are fundamentally different from the licences to pollute (such as CERs) that can be readily traded in the compliance carbon market established under the Kyoto protocol. VERs are intended to be used by businesses or individuals to offset their carbon footprints. Unlike with CERs, there is no readily accessible market where customers can sell on their VERs in the hope of being able to make a profit.
Thirty charities will receive more than £1.5 million for projects benefiting wildlife and the environment as a result of enforcement action by the Environment Agency. There are twenty-six Enforcement Undertakings on the list with payments ranging from £1,500 – £375,000, including six which are of six figures. As well as making a suitable payment to an appropriate environmental charity, each company has accepted liability, demonstrated restoration of harm and invested to reduce the risk of similar breaches occurring in future.
The Environment Agency’s ability to accept Enforcement Undertakings was extended in 2015 to a far wider range of offences. The Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for suitable cases to swiftly restore the environment, improve practices of the offending company and avoid longer criminal court cases. However prosecutions will still be taken, particularly in the most serious cases.
HSE has launched new draft Health and Work strategy and plans. They cover work-related stress (HSE report that stress, along with anxiety and depression, is the second most commonly reported cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain), musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung disease. http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/strategiesandplans/health-and-work-strategy/health-and-work-strategy.pdf