Agricultural contractor fined for Devon diesel spill

A Holsworthy man has been ordered to pay £3,000 in fines and costs after diesel oil escaped from his agricultural contractor's yard into a Devon stream.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On April 17, 2009 Agency officers visited Wayside Yard, Redpost, Bridgerule near Holsworthy and saw a large metal fuel tank stored outside.

The tank was fitted with a stop valve, connecting hose, electrical pump and nozzle. Fuel was leaking from the stop valve.

A small stream at the rear of the tank had an oily sheen on the surface.

The officers also saw several 200 litre drums in a concrete yard behind the main storage tank. At least one of the drums appeared to be overflowing with oil.

On April 20, 2009 the yard operator, Malcolm Newton, was contacted by the Environment Agency and strongly advised to clean-up the site. He was sent a copy of the latest Oil Storage Regulations leaflet.

Soil and water samples taken from the yard and nearby stream were found to be contaminated with a ‘heavy lubricating type oil.’ Malcolm Newton said the drums stored on the site contained waste tractor oil.

The main tank was used to re-fuel his agricultural contracting vehicles.

“Site operators must ensure they are compliant with the Oil Storage Regulations and take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of pollution from spillages and leaks,”

“This is even more important when, as in this case, oil is being stored in close proximity to a watercourse,’ said Robin Duffy for the Environment Agency.

Malcolm Newton, of 40 Southlands, Bridgerule, Holsworthy was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs by Barnstaple magistrates after pleading guilty to one offence under the Water Resources Act 1991.

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