09 November 2023 09 November 2023
Environmental sentencing update
|Date||Turnover/size of company (N.B approx only)||Court||Fine||Sector||Incident type|
|16th Aug||£1,816 million||Warrington Magistrates' Court||£800,000||Water||
The defendant water company illegally extracted 22 billion litres of water from boreholes – enough to fill 8,800 Olympic swimming pools. The over abstraction caused additional stress on the environment during a period of very dry weather and led to a significant decline in the water level available in an aquifer. The aquifer, an underground water storage area, which helps to support healthy river flows, and is an important public water source, will take years to recover.
|17th Aug||£1,380 million||n/a||Will donate £55,000 to Tyne Rivers Trust||Construction||
The defendant construction company breached its environmental permit when contaminated water was washed down highway drains and into a river. It had an environmental permit which allowed it to discharge water treated by a sediment treatment facility into the river.
|5th July||£159.9 million||Lewes Crown Court||£3.33 million||Water||
The defendant water company was fined after millions of litres of raw sewage flooded two rivers for several hours. Several thousand fish were killed after equipment failed. A pump at the defendant’s sewage treatment works was activated in error. This led to a storm lagoon discharging sewage and rainwater into the stream, pushing it into the river, despite there being no significant rainfall. The lagoon should only come into operation in wet weather. A visual check of the storm lagoon would have told them of the issue. Staff could have looked at equipment monitoring the rivers and at the water itself. A range of options to mitigate the disaster were available, but all were missed.
|13th July||£56.5 million||u/k||£100,000||Waste||
The defendant exceeded the amount of waste tyres it was legally allowed to deposit. It deposited thousands of tyres over the course of a year. It did this without checking that the site was authorised to accept those tyres.
|9th Aug||£15.9 million||n/a||Will pay £23,640 to the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust||Agriculture||
The defendant farming business repeatedly spread sludge waste on its land without permission. No environmental harm has been identified from the spreading carried out by the defendant but the defendant avoided paying application fees.
|20th July||Small company||Plymouth Magistrates' Court||
Ordered to pay £11,109 for the economic benefit gained from the offending
The defendant haulage company wrongly believed it could tip 10,000 tonnes of waste under two exemptions, and had taken 10,500 tonnes of waste to a site. It stated overtipping was through a lack of understanding. The farm where the waste was dumped was allowed 1,000 tonnes of soil and stones to be deposited, but in 22 months over 14,500 tonnes was deposited. The majority was by the defendant. The defendant pleaded guilty to depositing controlled waste contrary to regulations 12 and 38(1)(a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.
|4th July||Micro company||Grimsby Crown Court||£25,640||Waste||
The defendant admitted operating a waste facility in contravention of environmental permits. Officers estimated that the operator had avoided £19,189.50 in permitting charges. The site was also assessed to have stored 726.31 tonnes of waste.