Environmental Enforcement News

Recent prosecutions for environmental non-compliance include an acid gas release in Lancashire, Leigh Environmental's falsification of data and several cases involving pollution of water courses.

A judge at Burnley Crown Court has ordered Nipa Laboratories to pay £75,000 in fines and costs following a major unauthorised release of acid gas from its plant in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. Four tonnes of toxic emissions containing sulphur dioxide and hydrogen chloride were released from the site – the worst incident of its kind in Lancashire since the introduction of the current Integrated Pollution Control regulation in 1990. Two thousand residents were advised by police to remain indoors.

Leigh Environmental has been fined £87,500 and ordered to pay costs totalling £20,552.57 for the falsification of data sent to the Environment Agency (see see separate story on this case ). A two and a half year investigation, initiated by a tip-off from an employee, revealed that Leigh falsified the levels of difficult wastes it handled – including figures for cyanide, mercury, arsenic and lead – and had provided false figures for the levels of leachate at its sites.

Magistrates in Bridgend, Wales fined Maesteg company Jetforge £1,000 after the owner pleaded guilty to polluting a tributary of the River Llynfi with heating oil. In addition, the company was ordered to pay £2,662 towards Environment Agency costs. Prior to the prosecution, Jetforge had paid £8,726 to cover costs incurred by the Agency when cleaning up the oil immediately after the incident.

Firelighter manufacturer Tiger Tim Products has been fined £7,000 at Mold magistrates court after pleading guilty to polluting the Nant Figillt in Wales. The company admitted causing polluting matter, namely site drainage contaminated with anionic surfactant and kerosene, to enter the watercourse, where it “foamed and began to smell”. Tiger Tim was also ordered to pay costs of £150.

A Wisbech man trading under the name Doubleday Waste Disposal has received fines and costs totalling £3,040 for the storage of asbestos without a Waste Management Licence.

R E Fielding Trucking has received fines and costs totalling £9,935.89 after pleading guilty to causing oil to enter the Ramsey River near Harwich. Between 200 and 300 gallons of oil leaked from a bunded oil tank in a lorry park.

South West Water has been ordered to pay a total of £2,255 in fines and costs by Launceston magistrates for discharging raw sewage into a town centre stream. An environment protection officer found the brook badly affected by sewage fungus for approximately one kilometre below its confluence with the Pennygillam tributary.

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