Leading Article: Make the polluter pay the full price
Thursday 03 September 1998
The judiciary should realise that for multi-million pound organisations, being taken to court is simply a cost-benefit analysis like anything else. Unless the fine is big enough to threaten the company's profitability and share dividends when the subject pops up at the next board meeting it will quickly be passed over with just a rueful shake of a few greying heads.
The basis on which the fines are worked out needs to be looked at again. Instead of finding a company guilty, adjourning for 20 minutes, then producing a figure which sounds impressive to the local press but is actually plucked from thin air, magistrates should be given new guidelines.
To make the polluters pay properly (and make sure it doesn't happen again) the engineering reason why the incident happened in the first place should be looked at. Even the most trivial of human errors can be guarded against with a sufficient level of investment and, if the humans at that company are in the habit of making errors, perhaps this is the basis on which the fine should be worked out. Thus an overflow of sewage can be guarded against by building a back-up tunnel at a six-figure cost and the result would be a fine that is both punitive and deterrent. The benefit of any doubt should be given to the environment, not to the company in the dock and the legal maxima for pollution fines at magistrates court should be removed.
A princely mistake
SO PRINCE Harry is following his brother to Eton. The most disappointed man in this scenario is Eric Dawson, headmaster of Sir William Romney school in Tetbury, Highgrove's local comprehensive. "In neither case did the family come and look round the school," he tells The Independent sadly. "We have a new humanities block, a swimming pool and a sports centre." And worse, the Prince of Wales declined to live out the middle-class fantasy of choosing from 10 family palaces in order to get his sons into his state school of choice. Definitely a missed opportunity to modernise the royal family.
Books And it is whizzpopping!
MusicThey're running their own restaurants
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cecil the lion: Dentist Walter Palmer blames local guides in Zimbabwe for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
New on Netflix August 2015: From Narcos and Spellbound to Kick Ass 2 and Dinotrux
Listen! Beowulf opening line misinterpreted for 200 years
Heath Ledger's father reveals dead actor's 'Joker diary' written during The Dark Knight
Game of Thrones season 6: New toy line suggests Jon Snow is not among the dead
Spectre: Ellie Goulding is almost definitely singing the theme song to the next Bond film
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband