Cambridge Uni pays £35k for slurry spills

8th July 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Prosecution ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water ,
  • Education ,
  • Corporate fine



Polluting tributaries of the River Great Ouse twice in the same year has resulted in the University of Cambridge being fined a total of £28,000

Cambridge magistrates’ court also ordered the university to pay costs of £7,363.

The penalties were imposed after slurry from Park Farm in Madingley, Cambridge, which is owned and operated by the university, entered the tributaries in May and June 2012.

Investigation by Environment Agency officers on the first occasion revealed that slurry had entered the Beck Brook tributary via an unknown drainage pipe, affecting a 1.9km stretch of the stream and damaging water quality.

One month later, slurry from a second field escaped in multiple directions, again through unidentified drainage pipes, entering field ditches leading to Beck Brook and Callow Brook. The second incident followed heavy overnight rain, which waterlogged the field.

Claire Corfield, prosecuting for the agency, told the court that the causes of both incidents were the same and that the university had failed to take appropriate preventive measures after the first incident. Tankering the slurry, for example, could have prevented a second episode of pollution.

The university pleaded guilty to two offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. A spokesperson said the incidents followed misjudgments on expected rainfall and soil moisture levels.

The university also admitted that the amount of slurry applied both times was estimated to have been in excess of the recommended rates provided in the code of good agricultural practice guidance.

In a statement, the university said it deeply regretted the incidents, adding that it had investigated the circumstances and that measures have been put in place to ensure there would be no repeat.

The university has spent in more than £4,500 on a new flow meter and on a remote emergency engine stop for its spreading system.

Transform articles

Regulator publishes new code to tackle 'greenwashing'

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a new 'Green Claims Code' to ensure businesses are not misleading consumers about their environmental credentials.

22nd September 2021

Read more

The Better Business Act would put responsibility to society and the environment on the same footing as responsibility to shareholders, explains Chris Turner

30th July 2021

Read more

In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

30th July 2021

Read more

Thames Water has been fined £4m after untreated sewage escaped from sewers below London into a park and a river.

30th July 2021

Read more

In R. (on the application of Hudson) v Windsor and Maidenhead RBC, the appellant appealed against a decision to uphold the local authority’s grant of planning permission for the construction of a holiday village at the Legoland Windsor Resort.

28th May 2021

Read more

Are voluntary commitments enough to make the private sector act on waste? David Burrows explores the issues

28th May 2021

Read more

EIA screening should be comprehensive, says Paul Stookes.

6th December 2010

Read more

Civil sanctions make the punishment fit the crime, says Richard Kimblin.

6th September 2010

Read more

The UK's largest water company has been fined twice in seven days for polluting waterways in Berkshire and East Hampshire with sewage.

20th December 2011

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert