Eco-crime, the introduction of new laws

A green light for the law on eco-crime, instituting new crimes in relation to the environment

MILAN –The Italian Senate has given the green light for a new law instituting new crimes with regard to environmental pollution, environmental disaster, deliberate offences against the environment, the trafficking and dumping of radioactive material, failure to clear waste and the obstruction of monitoring procedures. These are the main innovations of the law.

Environmental pollution

From 2 to 6 years in prison, with a fine of between 10 thousand and 100 thousand euros for anyone wrongly inciting 'a significant and measurable compromise or deterioration: of water or air, or of large or significant areas of the soil or sub-soil; of an ecosystem, or of biodiversity, agriculture, flora or fauna'. Under the provisions of the new law, this may be aggravated in the case of the death or injury of one or more persons

Environmental disaster

Whoever wrongly provokes an environmental disaster shall be punished with 5 to 15 years’ imprisonment. Environmental disaster also comprises 'irreversible alteration to the balance of an ecosystem; alteration to the balance of an ecosystem, the destruction of which has particularly serious consequences, only to be performed in exceptional circumstances; offence against public safety, resulting from the relevance of the event to the scale of the disturbance, or from its harmful effects, or from the number of people negatively affected or endangered'.

Higher penalties where crimes are in protected areas

Both for the crime of environmental pollution and environmental disaster, the penalties are greater where the crimes are committed in areas of nature conservation, areas under environmental, historical, artistic, architectural or archaeological conservation orders, or where species of animals or protected plants are harmed.