Water offences

Options available to water offences we regulate

Land Drainage Act 1991

Section 24(3)

Summary only offence.

Non-compliance with a Section 24 Land Drainage Act notice.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Section 25(6)(b)

Summary only offence.

Non-compliance with a Section 25 Land Drainage Act notice

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Section 53(2)

Failure without reasonable excuse to comply with a notice requiring information, or in pursuance of the notice— (i) makes any statement in respect of the information required which he knows to be false in a material particular; or (ii) recklessly makes any statement in respect of that information which is false in a material particular.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 66(6)

Contravention or non-compliance with a byelaw made under Section 66.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Water Industry Act 1991

Section 71(1)(a)

Causing or allowing any underground water to run to waste from any well, borehole or other work. Abstracting from any well, borehole or other work, in excess of reasonable requirements.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 120(9)

Where a sewerage undertaker fails to refer to the appropriate agency, within two months, any question as to whether the discharges of special category effluent should be prohibited or made subject to conditions.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Compliance Notice
  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil Sanctions which can be offered are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 130(7)

Where a sewerage undertaker fails to refer to the appropriate agency any question as to whether any operations for the purpose of or in connection with the reception or disposal of special category effluent should be prohibited or made subject to conditions.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Compliance Notice
  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil Sanctions which can be offered are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 133(5)

Where a sewerage undertaker fails to exercise its powers so as to secure compliance with the provisions of a notice served by the appropriate agency under section 132 WIA.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Restoration Notice
  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 135A(2)(a)

Failing to provide information

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 165(3)

Failing to take necessary steps to ensure that water discharged is as free as reasonably practicable from various substances (e.g. mud, silt)

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 166(8)

Contravention of section 166 requirements or a condition of a consent, by a water undertaker.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Water Resources Act 1991

Section 24

s.24(1) & 24(4)(a)

To abstract without a licence, or other than in accordance with a licence or a Groundwater Investigation Consent (GIC) or abstract without a valid exemption or cause or permit any other person to do the same.

s.24(2) & 24(4)(a)

To construct, extend, install or modify any works, apparatus or machinery for the purpose of abstraction of groundwater without, or other than in accordance with a licence, a groundwater investigation consent or a valid exemption or cause or permit any other person to do the same.

s.24(4)(b)

Failure of a licence holder to comply with other conditions of a licence. Example: Conditions not directly related to abstraction such as an obligation to discharge water elsewhere, to monitor etc.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Compliance Notice
  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty
  • Stop Notice

Civil Sanctions which can be offered are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010.

Section 25

s.25(1)(a) & 25(2)(a)

To begin to construct or alter impounding works without a licence or cause or permit any other person to do the same.

s.25(1)(b) & 25(2)(a)

To impound water without a licence or to cause or permit any other person to do the same.

25(2)(b):

Failure of a licence holder to comply with the conditions of an impounding licence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Compliance Notice
  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty
  • Stop Notice

Civil Sanctions which can be offered are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010.

Section 25C

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice served under Section 25A of the WRA 1991.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010.

Section 80

s.80(1)

Abstraction and/or impounding water in contravention of a drought order or permit.

s.80(2)

Failure to construct, maintain or allow access to inspect any apparatus or records for measuring the flow of water required under a drought order or permit.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Compliance Notice
  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty
  • Stop Notice

Civil Sanctions which can be offered are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010.

Section 91B(3)

Failure to give notice of abandonment of a mine.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 107(3)

Non-compliance with a Section 107(3) WRA notice (notice requiring remediation of main river to ensure proper flow).

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • WarningFormal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 161D(1)

Failure to comply with an Anti Pollution Works notice.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 174

Impersonating a person authorised to enter premises

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available.

Section 176

Interference with NRW apparatus.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available.

Section 199

s.199(1) & 199(4)

Failure to notify the appropriate agency of a proposal to construct or extend a groundwater source for the purpose of searching for minerals or de-watering operations.

s.199(2) & 199(4)

Failure to comply with a conservation notice issued to control activities relating to the search for minerals.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 201(3)

Failure to supply information required by a Section 201 WRA notice

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 202(4)

Failure to provide information required by a notice under section 202.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 206

s.206(1)

Knowingly or recklessly making materially false statements. Example: In support of a licence application.

s.206(3)

Wilfully altering or interfering with a meter, gauge or other required under the provisions of a licence.

s.206(3A)

Intentionally making a false entry in any record required to be kept under an abstraction licence.

s.206(4)

Knowingly or recklessly make any statement which is false in a material particular which is required to be kept or furnished under Section 198 or 205 of the WRA.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010 in Wales.

Section 211(3)

Contravention of any fisheries byelaw

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 211(4)

Contravention of any byelaw for flood defence and drainage purposes

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Section 217(1)

Criminal liability of directors, managers and secretaries in relation to offences that their company (body corporate) is guilty of and which are proved to have been committed with the consent, connivance or attributable to their neglect.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

This does not require enforcement action against the first party and different responses can be given to each. Reference should, therefore, be made to the public interest factors.

Civil sanctions are only available for this offence where they are available for the offence for which the body corporate is guilty.

Section 217(2)

Liability of members of a body corporate where they manage the company affairs.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

This does not require enforcement action against the first party and different responses can be given to each. Reference should, therefore, be made to the public interest factors.

Civil sanctions are only available for this offence where they are available for the offence for which the body corporate is guilty.

Section 217(3)

Liability of third parties for offences under water pollution provisions.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

This does not require enforcement action against the first party and different responses can be given to each. Reference should, therefore, be made to the public interest factors.

Civil sanctions are only available for this offence where they are available for the offence for which the body corporate is guilty.

Water Act 2003

Failure to comply with an impounding works notice served under Section 4(1) WA 2003.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil Sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Variable Monetary Penalty

Civil sanctions are only available for offences which occurred after 15 July 2010.

Flood and Water Management Act 2010

Section 15(3)

Failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued under Section 14(1), requesting information from a person in connection with NRW’s flood and coastal erosion risk management functions.

The Civil Penalties available are:

  • If the person fails to provide this information, then NRW may issue an enforcement notice under Section 15(1);
  • If the person fails to comply with the enforcement notice, then under Section 15(3), NRW may impose a penalty notice not exceeding £1,000.

Relevant commencement dates are: 6th of April 2011

Section 30 and Schedule 1 para 11(4)

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice in relation to a designated asset.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Relevant commencement dates are: 1st of August 2012

Civil Sanctions are not available.

Section 30 and Schedule 1 para 13(5)

Obstruction of a NRW officer who is exercising powers of entry for the purpose of determining whether a structure or feature may be designated as a flood asset.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Relevant commencement dates are: 1st of August 2012

Civil Sanctions are not available.

Water Resources (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England & Wales) Regulations 2003

Regulation 9(4)

Beginning a ‘relevant project’ under the EIA Regulations without, or other than in accordance with the terms of, a valid consent of the NRW.

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage and Slurry (Wales) Regulations 2010

Regulation 10(1) & 3(1)

Failure to ensure silage is made and stored in accordance with Regulation 3(1).

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Regulation 10(1), 3(1) and 3(4)

Storing, opening or removing wrapping of a silage bale within 10 metres of an inland freshwater or coastal water which silage effluent could enter.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Regulation 10(1) & 4(1)

Failure to ensure slurry is stored in accordance with Regulation 4(1).

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Regulation 10(1) & 7(5)

To fail to comply with the requirements of a Regulation 7(1) “Notice requiring works”.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Regulation 10(1) & 9

Failure to notify of the construction, substantial enlargement or substantial reconstruction of a silo, slurry storage or fuel oil storage area in accordance with Regulation 9.

Summary only offence.

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions are not available for this offence.

Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2013

Regulation 49

Breach of any provisions of the Regulations

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Oil Storage) (Wales) Regulations 2016

Regulation 9

Contravention of regulation 4 (requirements for oil storage containers), 5(1) (requirements for secondary containment systems), 6(1) (requirements for fixed tanks), 7(1) (requirements for underground pipes associated with fixed tanks) or 8(1) (requirements for mobile bowsers).

Standard criminal and offence specific responses are:

  • Warning
  • Formal Caution
  • Prosecution

Civil sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Restoration Notice
  • Fixed Monetary Penalty
  • Variable Monetary Penalty
  • Stop Notice

Civil sanctions which can be imposed are:

  • Enforcement Undertaking

See Regulation 1 for the phased implementation of these Regulations. In general, these Regulations came into force on 15 March 2016. However, please note:

  • In relation to any container in which oil is being stored on 15 March 2016, the Regulations apply from 15 March 2020.
  • In relation to any container in which oil is being stored on 15 March 2016 and which is situated less than 10 metres away from any inland freshwaters or coastal waters or less than 50 metres away from a well or borehole, the Regulations came into force on 15 March 2018.