Scotland launches hit squad to prosecute polluters

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The Independent Online

A hit squad of specialist environmental prosecutors was launched yesterday to tackle rogue companies and individuals who damage the environment, destroy wildlife and endanger humans.

The network of specialists has been set up by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to work alongside environment professionals from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). The idea is to promote action against environmental crime.

The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said: "The pollution of rivers by raw sewage or chemical spillage and the dumping of rubbish in the heart of communities is a real threat to human health and to the environment. The specialist environmental prosecutor initiative is a partnership agreement with Sepa to actively improve the COPFS specialism in environmental law."

The specialists from COPFS will be divided into 11 areas in Scotland to advise and inform prosecutors and to liaise with Sepa and other agencies.

Campbell Gemmell, the chief executive of Sepa, said:"This commitment to a specialist prosecution service should send a clear message - Scotland is not prepared to tolerate environmental crime. Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcomed the initiative.