Costly oil leak for council

10th October 2012


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  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water ,
  • Environment agencies ,
  • Corporate fine ,
  • Education

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Oil leaking from a school's heating system has cost East Riding of Yorkshire Council almost £22,000 in fines and costs

The oil polluted a watercourse that feeds a local wildlife haven and the Humber Estuary, in contravention of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

York Magistrates’ Court was told that the oil was detected in a stream near Withernsea High School after a delivery of heating fuel resulted in oil leaking from a storage tank.

The council, which owns and maintains the school, called in contractors to contain the spill. However, the firm lacked some of the necessary containment equipment and the Environment Agency had to install booms to contain the pollution before it entered the estuary.

The court was also told of an earlier pollution incident at Goole in April 2010, when oil leaked into a waterway following the delivery of oil to another school operated by the council.

Thomas Spencer, representing the council, said the volume of oil that had leaked from Withernsea High School had not been significant, and the court accepted that the council’s action had been “swift, prompt, and appropriate” once it was aware of the leak.

The council has also commissioned a survey of all oil storage tanks on all of their sites, following the leak. It was fined £18,000 for the offence and ordered to pay £3,939 in costs.

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