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Fitness First pays £10k to charity over packaging waste offences

Health chain Fitness First Clubs has donated money to charity for an environmental offence rather than face criminal prosecution.

The company paid £10,321 to the Dorset Wildlife Trust to spend on environmental improvements in the region.

Watchdog the Environment Agency said Fitness First Clubs was unaware of the Producer Responsibility Regulations and should have been registered for a number of years.

The firm offered an Enforcement Undertaking to cover previous years’ offending, which identified what the business intended to do to return to compliance. 

Environment Agency south west director Richard Cresswell said: “Civil sanctions are an alternative to criminal prosecution for a limited number of environment offences.

“They allow us to secure regulatory compliance from offenders by eliminating any financial gain from non-compliance and getting them to react responsibly to the offending.”

He added: “Offenders have the option to have the money paid put towards environmental improvements and providing benefits for the local people affected by the offences.

“Adding civil sanctions to our enforcement armoury saves the EA time and money, freeing up our legal resources to concentrate on the higher priority environmental offenders.”

The Dorset Wildlife Trust safeguards the county’s wildlife and wild places, managing more than 1,300 ha of land.

The sanctions only came into force this year.

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