Environmental fines or notices: appeal against a regulator

How to appeal to a tribunal against fine, notice or other sanction issued by the Environment Agency, Natural England or another regulator.

What you can appeal against

You can appeal against a fine or a notice for an environmental offence – for example, for pollution or dumping toxic waste or against some other decisions, including those imposed by:

  • The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • The Environment Agency
  • Local authorities in England and Wales
  • Local flood authorities
  • The Marine Management Organisation
  • Natural England
  • The Health and Safety Executive
  • The Department for Business and Trade, including the Office for Product Safety and Standards
  • Welsh ministers

The tribunal only deals with appeals against civil sanctions – not criminal offences.

The regulator’s decision may be put on hold until after the tribunal has considered your case, but this won’t always be possible.

Nitrate vulnerable zones

You can find the right to appeal in regulation 6 of the The Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2015, amended by SI 2016/1190 and SI 2016/1254

The only grounds of appeal are that the land (or any part of it):

  • does not drain into polluted water

  • drains into water which is not polluted

Find out more about your land and nitrate vulnerable zones.

The tribunal

Your case will be dealt with by a tribunal in the General Regulatory Chamber.

The tribunal is independent of the government and will listen to both sides of the argument before it reaches a decision.

If you or your representative is outside the UK and wants to give live video or audio evidence, contact the tribunal to request it. Tell the tribunal what country you or the representative is in and what type of evidence is being given. You must do this as soon as possible.

How to appeal

You have 28 days to appeal after the regulator sends you its decision.

Under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations, your appeal must be bought to the tribunal within 90 days of the days of the date on which the appellant was aware of the decision.

To appeal, complete the appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber form (GRC1).

If you’re appealing to the First-tier Tribunal (Environment) against a decision to include your land, or part of it, in a nitrate vulnerable zone, then you must complete the notice of appeal form (T35).

Say clearly why you think the regulator’s decision was wrong or unreasonable.

Include any supporting documents, like the regulator’s decision.

Send the form to or:

General Regulatory Chamber
HM Courts & Tribunals Service
PO Box 9300

Telephone: 0300 123 4504

What happens next

The tribunal will write to you about the next steps.

Find out more about General Regulatory Chamber hearings and decisions.

Legislation and rules

You can find the main sanctions and the right to appeal to the tribunal in the:

The other environmental regulations are listed in rules and rights of appeal leaflet (T98A) and the REACH rules and rights of appeal.

You can read the rules on how your case will be handled in the General Regulatory Chamber procedure rules.

Read about the GRC Practice Direction relating to Environmental Stop Notices (PDF, 32.9KB, 2 pages).

Published 17 November 2014
Last updated 29 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated the information on how to appeal.

  2. List of organisations has been updated.

  3. Accessibility change to links

  4. Changed the telephone number of the GRC

  5. Added information about the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations.

  6. Minor change

  7. new jurisdiction

  8. First published.