Environmental Sanctioning in the EU

Matthew Hall, University of Lincoln

Tanya Wyatt, Northumbria University

Overall aims and structure

The overall goal of this project is to conduct a baseline analysis of 'what we know about environmental crime and, crucially, how it is actually being tackled by prosecutors and judges across Europe'. In order to deliver on this, we have arranged the project into three interrelated work packages: 

Work Package 1: This involves a detailed review of existing data and literature concerning environmental prosecutions in Europe in order to pool knowledge and identify gaps.

Work Package 2:  This work package is concerned with the collection of legal materials and statistical data on both the availability and the actual use made of environmental sanctions across the 28 EU Member States and other countries. Such data will encompass as far as is possible the transposition of the instruments listed in that paragraph. Importantly, it encompasses non-criminal (as well as criminal) sanctions employed as a response to environmental crimes, including administrative and civil sanctions. 

Work Package 3: This work package broadens the analysis to examine the nature of the legal systems and processes in place in each jurisdiction and question whether these promote or impede responses to environmental crime. This will involve a review and analysis of surrounding procedural, structural and cultural issues in each country's legal and regulatory systems which impact upon compliance, prosecution and sanctioning is respect to wildlife crimes, waste crime and chemical pollution.



A systematic literature review will be conducted drawing on the extensive experience of both tenderers in carrying out work of this kind. This will encompass both legal and criminological literature. As both Wyatt and Hall are members of research-focused academic institutions, each will be able to draw upon substantial institutional support including the availability of locally funded research assistants and the employment of postgraduate student interns through schemes run at both universities. Thematic analysis of the literature will be conducted to reveal gaps in knowledge and to help target research activity conducted under the second work package.


Guided by the above literature review, data on prosecution rates and sanctions will be collected through publicly available sources in each country under review. We will also contract relevant environmental agencies of each jurisdiction to gather numbers and materials, setting up telephone conversations and qualitative interviews where necessary to gather/understand the data. We also have access to several pan-European organisations which will be able to provide data including Eurocrime ( http://www.eurocrime.eu/ ).

In terms of analysis, it is expected that the plurality of data sources and the different means of counting and responding to environmental crime of all kinds across such a wide cohort of jurisdictions will make direct statistical comparison or high level quantitative analysis difficulty to achieve. The raw descriptive statistics should however provide a firm basis for basic indication of 'what we know about environmental crime'. The project leads will draw on comparative criminal justice methods to distinguish more locally grounded issues/problems with the enforcement of environmental criminal law in different jurisdictions (whether these be legal, cultural or historical) from broader themes which can be said to apply across Europe and the EEA.


The third work package will extend and build upon the analysis from WP2 by examining the specific procedures, rules and working practices which contextualise (and, in all likelihood, dictate) the application of environmental sanctions in each country under review.