Over the past five years, there has been a huge increase in the number of fines issued for environmental offenses in the Walloon Region. From 580 in 2009, they increased to 1,403 in 2013, reported Sudpresse newspapers on Tuesday. Offenses related to littering made up the lion’s share, representing 30% of all fines issued in 2013. Next come violations related to environmental permits and to fishing and hunting, with practices such as bird netting or fox trapping on the rise. In the past, most of the fines issued by officers qualified to report environmental offenses ended up at the prosecutor’s office, which generally took no further action as such issues were not among its priorities. But since 2009, a decree has made provisions for an administrative fine, which does not require going through the “justice” department.
Last year, fines handed out by the regional sanctioning officer amounted to 954,260 euros. That is 10 times more than in 2009 when they totaled 96,675 euros. Moreover, since 2009, the 500 regional agents authorized to operate environmental monitoring have issued fines totaling 2.5 million euros.