Making the polluter pay and tracking down and recovering the proceeds of crime, are key elements of the partnership formed between three networks of practitioners in the compliance chain: the European Union Network for Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), EU Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE) and the EU network of police officers focusing on tackling environmental crime (ENVI CrimeNet).
The three networks, working in close collaboration with the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment (EUFJE), hosted a conference on “Tackling Waste and Wildlife Crime in Europe – challenges and solutions” in Oxford, on the 20th and 21th of September, 2017. With capacity building and training as well as the sharing of information in tackling environmental crime at the heart of what they do, the notion of the ‘Compliance Chain’, being only as strong as its weakest link, was an agreed, recurring theme from last years successful, 2016 EU Enforcement Networks Conference in Utrecht.
“We share a common vision to shape our practical actions” – Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director General of DG Environment, European Commission.
Conference delegates demonstrated the need for the sharing of experiences in finding practical solutions to overcome common problems and challenges in implementing EU environmental law. Working together, delegates looked at case studies and how consistency in the approach to enforcement, strategic, tactic and operational, will result in strong sanctions and a reduction in illegal activities as well as how the activities of the Networks can best bring about prevention and deterrence in the fight against environmental crime.
“Serious organised crime raises the challenge for all of us to work more closely together” – Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
With 160 permitters, inspectors, police, prosecutors and judges from more than 30 European countries the conference raised important questions and shared answers to a variety of topics such as on sanctioning, air pollution and the use of drones and mobile technology to detect and prosecute illegal activities.
The conference welcomed guests from Australia, the United States of America and China as well as representatives from the European Commission, academia, NGOs, Interpol, Europol, Eurojust and fellow networks such as THEMIS. These provided an alternate viewpoint to legal, technical and policy challenges faced by the practitioner networks and how we might consider overcoming them.