Robert Biddlecombe

Latest Articles

A recent prosecution by the Environment Agency, where a company was ordered to pay £327,000, has highlighted potentially difficult issues for businesses in complying with the statutory waste duty of care. What is the Statutory Waste Duty of Care? All businesses generate waste of some description: from paper and kitchen waste in offices, to hazardous waste in manufacturing facilities. Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides, amongst other things, that it is the…
Recent caselaw demonstrates that regulators are prepared to prosecute landlords as a direct result of their tenants’ unlawful waste operations. Landlords should consider this possibility when negotiating with prospective tenants and put in place reasonable safeguards to protect themselves. However, victims of fly-tipping may potentially face a similar risk of prosecution against which such safeguards will not be available.…
There has been a general decline in health and safety inspection and enforcement by local authorities since 2010 principally due to reduced funding and competing priorities, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health (APPGOSH). According to their recent report, “Local Authorities and Health and Safety”: the overall number of inspections and other interventions by local authorities fell by 65% between 2010 and 2016; the number of full-time local authority health…
Whilst the recent case of R v ATE Truck & Trailer Sales Limited provides a reminder to litigants that judges are not bound by parties’ agreed bases of plea, it also serves to point out that judges will not necessarily be correct to depart from them. Facts of the case The defendant allowed a scrap metal dealer, Mr Price, to occupy part of its site in Wolverhampton to dismantle old trucks and trailers. On 21 February…
A recent prosecution has illustrated the consequences of releasing non-native species into UK habitats, notwithstanding that the motivation of the two defendants was entirely benevolent. Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to release or allow to escape into the wild any animal of a kind which is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state, or which is listed…
According to research published by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, more than one third of organisations required to complete a statement in compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“Act”) have failed to do so. Under section 54 of the Act, organisations that carry on business in the UK and have turnovers of £36 million or more are required to produce a statement each year setting out the steps they have taken to ensure that…
The recent decision of the High Court in Price and Hardwicke v Powys County Council determined that a local authority may acquire potential liability under the contaminated land regime (“CLR”) from its statutory predecessor, notwithstanding that the CLR did not enter into force until over 5 years after the transfer of liabilities took place.…
The recent Court of Appeal decision in R v Powell and Westwood contains an interesting insight into the extent to which company directors may find themselves personally liable for the cost of remediating contamination which has been caused or knowingly permitted by the companies that they control. It has confirmed that the corporate veil should only be pierced in limited circumstances.…
From next month, employers will be required to consider specifically the risks posed to their employees by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). What are EMFs? EMFs occur wherever a piece of electrical or electronic equipment is used, from an electric kettle or lap top computer through to an MRI scanner or satellite dish.  EMFs are likely, therefore, to be present in most modern workplaces.  Although there is no current scientific evidence that EMFs are responsible for long-term…