Environmental Crime In Figures

Published date21 June 2022
Subject MatterEnvironment, Environmental Law, Clean Air / Pollution, Waste Management
Law FirmSoulier Avocats
AuthorMs Laure Marolleau

The French Ministerial Statistical Department for Internal Security (Service statistique ministériel de la sécurité intérieure, also known by its acronym "SSMSI") has published, for the first time, a study on environmental damages.1

The publication of these figures, which do not, however, cover all environmental crimes, is interesting.

What findings can be made?

The figures are those reported by the national police and gendarmerie services. The study, therefore, does not include offenses that may be recorded by customs services, environmental inspectors, the French Biodiversity Agency, agents of the French National Forests Office or municipal police forces.

They concern the recorded offenses, the plaintiffs and the persons involved in the perpetration of such offenses. The study does not provide information about the prosecution of these offenses before the courts.

Environmental major and minor offenses mainly concern natural resources and animals

In 2021, the national police and gendarmerie services recorded 31,400 environmental major and minor offenses throughout the French territory.

These offenses, to be understood within the meaning of the French nomenclature of offenses, are highly heterogeneous:

  • Natural resources: 45%;
  • Animals: 34%;
  • Prevention: 11%;
  • Waste: 4%;
  • Pollution: 4%;
  • Protected species: 1%.

Nearly half of the offenses relate to acts that lead to the depletion or degradation of natural resources, i.e., offenses related to illegal logging or mining (55%, i.e., 25% of the total) and breaches of hunting or fishing regulations (29%, i.e., 13% of the total).

Acts against animals represent one third of these offenses.

Offenses concerning breaches of prevention rules and regulations include breaches of regulations concerning fire, pollution, hazardous, nuclear or chemical substances, as well as those concerning so called classified facilities for the protection of the environment (installations classées pour la protection de l'environnement or "ICPE"2). The distinction between this category and pollution or waste-related offenses is not obvious, since the prevention rules and regulations partly overlap with pollution and waste-related issues categorized as such.

All the rest (about 10%) concern air, water, soil or other forms of pollution, transport or dumping of waste, including cross-border transport and dumping of waste, and trade in or possession of protected species of fauna and flora.

Environmental major and minor offenses are on the rise...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT