UK firms to pay £2.2m for en­vi­ron­ment breaches

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Uk And World News - BY RICK GOOD­MAN

Com­pa­nies which pol­luted rivers and streams or made other en­vi­ron­men­tal breaches have agreed to pay more than £2.2 mil­lion to a host of green char­i­ties and lo­cal projects.

The largest con­tri­bu­tion comes from Wes­sex Wa­ter, who will cough up £975,000 as re­dress for a se­ries of sew­er­age spills at Swan­age in Dorset.

In that breach, more than 142,000 cu­bic me­tres of sewage was dis­charged into the sea dur­ing il­le­gal spills in 2016 and 2017, the En­vi­ron­ment Agency said.

A to­tal of 15 char­i­ties and projects will ben­e­fit from the en­force­ment un­der­tak­ings of­fered by the com­pa­nies and signed off by the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, which an­nounced the pay­ments yes­ter­day.

Wes­sex’s pay­ment is the high­est in UK his­tory and in­volves £400,000 go­ing to a lo­cal coun­cil flood de­fence scheme in Swan­age and £400,000 to Dorset Waste Part­ner­ship to fund a doorstep re­cy­cling ser­vice for do­mes­tic fat, oil and grease.

Carls­berg UK will pay a com­bined £120,000 to two or­gan­i­sa­tions for pol­lut­ing the River Nene in Northamp­ton, where the com­pany has a brew­ery and bot­tling plant.

Tesco will give £100,000 to the York­shire Wildlife Trust for pol­lut­ing a wa­ter­course and ponds with diesel, while York­shire Wa­ter Ser­vices will pay £200,000 to the same trust for pol­lut­ing a river.

The Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety will get £24,329 from An­gel Springs Hold­ings Lim­ited, which ad­mit­ted not tak­ing rea­son­able steps to re­cover and re­cy­cle pack­ag­ing waste.

United Util­i­ties Wa­ter Lim­ited will pay £232,000 Mersey Rivers Trust (£90,000) and Com­mu­nity For­est Trust (£142,000) for dis­charg­ing sewage into a brook.

“We take these en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ci­dents very se­ri­ously and these pay­ments of more than £2.2 mil­lion di­rect to char­i­ties will help them carry out vi­tal projects to im­prove our en­vi­ron­ment right across Eng­land,” the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s le­gal ser­vices di­rec­tor Peter Kel­lett said.

The Wildlife Trusts’ se­nior pol­icy man­ager Ellie Brody hoped the pay­ments re­minded busi­nesses of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to main­tain a clean en­vi­ron­ment. “Ob­vi­ously we would have been hap­pier if these in­ci­dents hadn’t oc­curred at all. How­ever it’s a good prin­ci­ple that pol­luters should of­fer re­dress for the dam­age they cause,” she said.

“The money will en­able work which will ben­e­fit wildlife and wild places, and which oth­er­wise wouldn’t be funded.”

As well as mak­ing these char­ity pay­ments, each com­pany has ac­cepted li­a­bil­ity and made ef­forts to re­store the en­vi­ron­ment and avoid fu­ture of­fences.

Com­pa­nies or mem­bers of the pub­lic are urged to re­port pol­lu­tion to the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s 24/7 hot­line on 0800 80 70 60.

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