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Accountability and Offsetting in Environmental Law Enforcement

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ole Pedersen



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Since 2010, the Environment Agency has had a range of flexible tools at their disposal to deal with misconduct. One such sanction, enforcement undertaking, is akin to a settlement where the regulator and the offender agree to deal with the breach through a range of promises that may restore and remedy the environmental harm caused by the offence. The majority of these undertakings further require the offender to make donations to charitable environmental causes to improve the environment. However, there is little transparency around the latter promise. Consequently, this article details the findings of a pilot study interrogating the specific implementation of a subset of enforcement undertakings in North East England. The paper argues that a more transparent enforcement process would address some of the accountability problems arising from the findings showing that community benefits operate as an offset mechanism instead of a restorative enforcement mechanism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nehme M, Pedersen OW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Law & Society

Year: 2022

Volume: 49

Issue: 1

Pages: 93-117

Print publication date: 01/03/2022

Online publication date: 14/02/2022

Acceptance date: 30/09/2021

Date deposited: 30/09/2021

ISSN (print): 0263-323X

ISSN (electronic): 1467-6478

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/jols.12346


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