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Non-compliance and consequences
 

The purpose of an on-site inspection is to verify the compliance of the running of the installation with the conditions stipulated by prefectural order or ministerial order.

The inspection may identify non-compliances with the operational requirements of these orders. Follow-up actions are therefore envisaged and initiated by the inspector.

3Administrative actions3

They vary depending on the type of findings :

  • if the inspector finds poorly suitable or insufficient operational requirements, he suggests that the Prefect modify the permit conditions via an additional prefectural order ; this order will be issued after consultation with the operator and the Conseil Départemental de l’Environnement et des Risques Sanitaires et Technologiques (CODERST - Departmental Council for the environment and health and technological risks ) ;
  • if the inspector finds that the operator does not comply with the conditions imposed upon him, he suggests that the Prefect issue the operator with a formal notice to comply with these conditions within a given timeframe. When this timeframe expires, if non compliance with the operational requirements persists, the Prefect can compel the operator to pay a sum to a public accountant corresponding with the works to be carried out or have the works carried out without prior consultation, or even suspend the running of the installation until the imposed measures have been implemented ;
  • if the inspector finds the installation is operated without the required permit, he suggests that the Prefect give the operator formal notice to submit a permit application with a view to rectifying his situation. If necessary, operation can be suspended.

3Legal actions3

Classified installations inspectors have judicial powers enabling them to issue penalties.

Infringements are either 5th category minor offences (notably non compliance with prefectural or ministerial orders, undeclared operation), or misdemeanours (notably operation without a permit, non compliance with a formal notice, obstructing an inspector in the performance of his duties).

In all cases, the inspector communicates the penalty report establishing his findings to the Public Prosecutor who decides whether or not to take legal action.

When the case is brought to court, maximal possible penalties are :
for a 5th class minor offence, a €1,500 fine for individuals and €7,500 for corporations ;
for a misdemeanour, a fine up to €750,000 for corporations ; a fine up to €150,000 and prison sentence of up to 2 years, for individuals.