Enforcement Undertakings

Enforcement Undertakings header bird with a worm

An enforcement undertaking is a civil sanction which is available to certain regulators, including the Environment Agency and Natural England, in relation to environmental offences as set out in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.

An enforcement undertaking is a legally-binding agreement, which is entered into voluntarily, and is offered to the regulator where there are reasonable grounds to expect that an offence has been committed. In order for an enforcement undertaking to become an option for a regulator as an alternative to a prosecution, the regulator must have investigated the offence and have a realistic prospect of a successful prosecution to the criminal standard of proof, which is beyond reasonable doubt.

The primary purpose of the enforcement undertaking is to allow the offender to restore and remediate any environmental damage they may have caused, because they enable businesses to take control of a post-incident investigation or non-compliance and propose the steps they are prepared to take to remedy the situation rather than waiting for the regulator to impose sanctions.