£67,000 penalty for chemical spill

6th December 2013


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Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water ,
  • Environment agencies ,
  • Prosecution

Author

Debbie Rowland

Polluting a tributary of a river in Essex with an agricultural chemical has cost a farming business more than £67,000

Berwick Hall Farm Limited was fined £34,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,997, as well as a victim surcharge of £120, after a tractor pulling a sprayer of agricultural chemicals tipped while crossing a badly constructed bridge and emptied about 5,000 litres of pesticide into Toppesfield Brook.

The pollution killed more than 15,000 fish and prevented Anglian Water from taking water from the River Colne to fill a local reservoir for 27 days. Dams were built to contain the pollution, but biologists found macro invertebrates either dead or dying up to 15km downstream.

“This incident had a catastrophic impact on fish and aquatic life, and affected drinking water supplies. The damage, combined with the fine and the huge costs incurred by the farm’s insurers, should act as a sobering reminder to all pesticide users of the acute and toxic nature of the chemicals they use,” said Environment Agency officer Peter Cooke.

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