Barely four months after the Environment Agency was given the power to use civil sanctions to penalise those breaking environmental law, Oliver Letwin, the Minister for Government policy, has revealed plans to reform the regime. These sanctions allow inspectors to issue on-the-spot fines, which effectively means that offenders can have their cases dealt with efficiently, and without the burden of the costs involved in lengthy court proceedings. Even though the civil sanctions regime was only launched in January 2011, it was placed under review in February. The EA’s newly gained powers have not yet actually been used. Mr Letwin has described a situation where regulators can issue sanctions without having to go through the courts as “intolerable”. He went on to state that if the present regime were allowed to continue, it would lead to “sloppy regulation” and that sanctions would be based on flimsy evidence. This development has been described by Richard Kimblin and James Maurici, of the executive committee of the UK Environmental Law Association as “extraordinary”, and that it was “flat contrary” to the approach under which the civil sanctions were implemented.