The spill cost Dawn Foods Ltd £31,500 in fines and costs after pleading guilty at Worcester Magistrates Court.

The oil spread in patches of 30 and 35 metres wide across the river for two miles from a leak in an oil tank.

The oil had escaped from a storage tank via a flexible pipe, fixed in place with a jubilee clip, which became detached.

The oil leaked into company’s surface water drains and discharged into the surface sewer and into the River Avon.

The company cooperated fully with the Environment Agency and paid for the clean-up, however the Environment Agency said the company failed to consider possible risks and how to deal with them.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “This incident could have been avoided if the company had properly considered the environmental risks associated with their business activities.

“Dawn Foods Limited had poor knowledge of their own site drainage. They did not have a plan of what to do in the event of a spillage at the site and unfortunately this resulted in the pollution incident and today’s court appearance.”

Alison Brown

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