WTT Policy on Enforcement Undertakings in England


An Enforcement Undertaking (EU) is a voluntary offer made by an offender to the Environment Agency, supposedly to mitigate the effects of their offence, redress the impact on third parties and make sure the offence cannot happen again.

According to gov​.uk, applying discretion on a case-by-case basis, EA will only consider accepting an EU for cases where:

  • it is not in the public interest to prosecute
  • the offer itself addresses the cause and effect of the offending
  • the offer protects, restores or enhances the natural capital of England
  • for Category 1 pollutions, with low culpability and Category 2 events which are not deliberate

More information can be found HERE.

WTT has accepted, to date, three EU’s: £85K in 2016 for a pollution by Severn Trent Water to the River Tean, Staffs; £24K in 2017 for a pollution to the River Goyt by United Utilities and £5K in 2018 for an on-land waste offence by an SME, Seearo Grp Ltd, to the River Shep in Cambs. A further £5K came to WTT through Somerset Catchment Partnership, part of an EU for a pollution by Wessex Water to the River Axe in Somerset.

WTT’s policy on accepting EU’s

We might accept an EU if:

  1. The offender is willing to be transparent and in agreement with all of this policy
  2. The offence is a first by the offender at the affected site
  3. A pollution event is transient, not resulting from persistent pollutants
  4. The impact of the pollution (or other harm) is localised
  5. We can initiate a worthwhile project to which to put any money, making a real difference for wild trout, ideally within the same catchment as the offence
  6. Receipt of an EU makes a project significantly more likely to happen
  7. The offender will not seek to influence any PR WTT distributes (which will be factual and objective)
  8. The offender will not seek to influence in any way the project to which we agree to commit the money.

We will be open and transparent that we have been offered an EU, by whom, the circumstances of the offence and details of the project to which we intend to commit the money. 

We will attempt, as far as is possible, to corroborate with EA any information provided by the offender about the circumstances of the offence. 

The decision to accept (or reject) an EU will be taken by the WTT Director and Trustees through the PID process, with the informed input of the local Conservation Officer.