Justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz is looking at options to raise the fines which companies caught breaking environmental rules should pay and at tougher conditions for out-of-court settlements, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Monday.
The national audit office said in a 2021 report that a small number of companies are responsible for more than half of all offences, and said that the low fines firms face are not working as a deterrent.
Many infringements of the regulations are settled out of court for less than €10,000, and in just 5% of cases, the fine is more than €50,000.
Yeşilgöz has now told MPs that her ministry is conducting “research into sentencing” which will look at “the application of penalties for serious environmental offences in practice and any obstacles to imposing an effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanction.”
D66 parliamentarian Joost Sneller told the FD he is happy the minister is going intervene, but says the fines must function as a real deterrent. “Currently companies see [a fine] as a calculated risk,” he said.
The minister also wants to make it possible for the public prosecution department to act if a company has reached an out-of-court settlement but continues to offend.
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