recently penalised Alphasteel, Scandstick, Daniel Platt, and Mars (UK) (trading as Masterfoods) over £750,000 for breaches of EU environmental regulations.
The companies failed to account for their carbon emissions during the first year of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
Targeting the most carbon intensive industrial operators, the EU ETS provides financial incentives for industry to become more efficient and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment Agency Chief Executive, Barbara Young said: ‘The European Emissions Trading Scheme is our most important mechanism for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
‘The Environment Agency has successfully invested a lot of time and effort engaging with industrial operators to ensure a rigorous, consistent and effective approach to regulating the EU ETS.
‘Unfortunately four companies out of 535 in England and Wales failed to surrender sufficient carbon dioxide allowances by the due date to cover their emissions. This is the cornerstone of the scheme. As such they are liable to automatic civil penalties.’
Alphasteel, a steel recycling company from Newport in south Wales, was issued a civil penalty of £564,559.93) for failing to surrender any allowances for 2005 by the 30 April 2006 deadline.
Daniel Platt, a ceramic tile company from Stoke-on-Trent, was issued a civil penalty of £122,099.74 for failing to surrender any allowances to account for 4,537 tonnes of verified emissions by the 30 April 2006 deadline.
Mars (UK) (trading as Masterfoods), a foodstuffs company from Peterborough, was issued a civil penalty of £52,532.22 for failing to surrender allowances for 2005 by the surrender notice deadline. Mars UK verified emissions for 2005 were 1,952 tonnes.
Scandstick, an adhesive products company in Cambridgeshire, was issued a civil penalty of £19,618.84 for failing to surrender sufficient allowances to account for 729 tonnes of verified emissions for 2005. The Environment Agency says Scandstick only surrendered 1,219 allowances but had verified emissions of 1948 tonnes.
From January 2005, large industrial operators across the United Kingdom were asked for the first time to monitor, verify and report their greenhouse gas emissions.
Each company in the scheme was given allowances to emit a certain amount. If they emitted more than this they had to buy additional allowances. If they emitted less, they could sell their allowances to other operators. At the end of 2005, operators had until the April 30, 2006 to surrender all allowances to the Environment Agency.
Under the EU ETS Directive, member states must impose civil penalties on installations of €40 for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, if they fail to surrender allowances equal to their emissions by the due date.