Sheep dip devastated Scottish watercourse

Sheep dip dripped into a watercourse devastating wildlife and local plants after a farmer failed to properly dispose of it.

John Junor, of Dell Farm in Inverness, was fined £500 at Fort William Sheriff Court this week (25 June) for failing to empty a sheep dipper and allowing the dip to leak into a nearby burn at Kentallen, Duror, Appin.

The pollution took place between July and September 2008 into the ditch, which flows into the nearby Eas a Choin burn.

In July 2008 Scottish Environmental Protection Agency was contacted by a member of the public who had become concerned with the sheep dipping at the farm.

The on-call SEPA officer went to investigate and met with Junor, who was in the process of dipping sheep.

The officer told him when the dip was finished with, it should be removed to a suitably licensed site and that further information or advice was available from SEPA's Fort William office.

However, a further complaint was received in August 2008 and the follow up visit revealed the sheep fold was full of grey liquid suspected to be sheep dip.

Records later provided by Junor showed the sheep dip had been present in the dipper since 27 July, when it should have been disposed of within 24 hours, it had also leaked from the site.

The dip has, according to SEPA, had a significant impact with a lack of plant and aquatic life compared to similar watercourses in the area and had created a heavy grey sediment on the bed of the burn.

Peter Wright, SEPA's investigating officer, said: "This incident caused significant environmental damage to the watercourse.

"Junor operates a farming business at various locations and operates sheep dipping facilities on a regular basis.

"He holds a relevant certificate in competency and should be aware how hazardous this liquid can be to the water environment.

"Despite this he carried out sheep dipping at Kentallen without ensuring leaks or spills were prevented.

"There were inadequate on-site containment systems in place and there was a failure to follow appropriate pollution control procedures.

"Farmers must take great care when using these highly toxic chemicals because of the damage they can cause, sheep dip can be lethal to fish and invertebrates even in small concentrations.

Luke Walsh




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