Appeal brought by Boots UK Ltd dismissed

1st February 2019

The appeal sought in Boots UK Ltd v Severn Trent Water Ltd has been dismissed.

The manufacturer sought the appeal against a judgement that the water and sewerage undertaker did not owe it alleged overpaid trade effluent charges.

The question of the appeal was whether a mixed liquid comprising surface water and effluent produced in the course of a trade or industry was 'trade effluent' within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991 and thus liable to charges.

Boots UK manufacturing processes gave rise to trade effluent, which was discharged into private sewers and metered to calculate trade effluent charges. Before the effluent reached the meter it was mixed with surface water that had not been discharged through designated surface water outlets. The mixture was discharged into a public foul water sewer. Severn Trent Water charged for trade effluent to the mixed liquid passing through the meter and charged for surface water drainage by rateable value or area.

Boots UK argued it should only be charged for the trade effluent, not the mixed liquid containing surface water, and sought reimbursement. Severn Trent Water argued that the entirety of the mixed liquid was a trade effluent within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991. The original judge agreed.

At appeal, the judge concluded he agreed with the original judge that the mixed liquid of surface water and trade effluent was still a trade effluent within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991, and Boots UK was liable to charges.

He commented: “It seems to me that there is an entirely rational purpose for treating a mixed liquid as falling with the definition of trade effluent. The mixture of trade effluent and surface water is still contaminated water, and will need to be treated in a different way from surface water“.

The appeal was dismissed.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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