Under rules relating to the use of packaging, Bahlsen failed to register with the Agency to report the amounts of packaging they imported when they were legally obliged to do so. This continued for 15 years from 1997 until the company identified it should have been registered through due diligence procedures.
During the period of non compliance the company had an unfair financial advantage against registered compliant competitors and caused the Environment Agency to lose revenue that would be used for compliance monitoring and regulation.
To mitigate, the company has improved its operating procedures to prevent further breaches, and offered financial contributions totalling £39,800 to the Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust which exceeds the costs which it would have paid if they registered in 1997.
Sanjiv Syal, Environment Officer for the Environment Agency said:
Bahlsen submitted a proactive EU Offer, which means the company voluntarily came to us to report the breaches when the problem was identified. This self reporting means the company benefits from a deduction in the penalty which could have applied had the investigation gone to court, and allows the financial recompense to go to good environmental causes.
The use of Civil Sanctions, where appropriate, can offer benefits to the environment and the wider world by using resources wisely and allowing the company to get back into compliance whilst still accepting financial responsibility for its breaches.
We would encourage any other operators who may be eligible to offer an EU to get in touch, before our investigations identify non compliance and we seek a larger penalty.
Bahlsen was fully cooperative throughout the investigation. The company is keen to do the right thing and be fully compliant with packaging regulations in the future.
Details of Enforcement Undertakings accepted by the Environment Agency can be found on GOV.UK.