The economics of environmental law enforcement or Has the prosecution of polluters led to cleaner rivers in England and Wales?
Improvements in the quality of the waterways of England and Walesare often argued to be attributable to the cooperation between Authorities and dischargers, and that such cooperation could be jeopardized if prosecution of discharges became more frequent. This paper, by using an economic model of law enforcement, tests whether there is any evidence of an association between enforcement policies and changes in water quality. It demonstrates the difficulty of examining problems of enforcement in isolation and then outlines a new procedure, both for allocating and for enforcing consents, designed to improve economic efficiency whilst maintaining traditional British cooperation.
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