Garden centre loses appeal over £75k fine

6th September 2013

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Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Water ,
  • Prosecution ,
  • Corporate fine ,
  • Retail and wholesale



Garden centre operator Dobbies has failed in its appeal to overturn a £75,000 fine for pumping poorly treated sewage into a stream in Cumbria

The company, a subsidiary of Tesco, was fined in March by Carlisle magistrates’ court after its retail outlet in the town failed to comply with the requirements of its environmental permit.

In April 2011, Environment Agency officers traced the source of pollution in a watercourse in Sowerby Wood to a pipe that was pumping secondary-treated sewage into the water from the nearby Dobbies garden centre.

The permit for the store states that the outlet must be checked weekly, but the court heard that staff were not aware of this condition.

Judge Peter Hughes, sitting with two magistrates at Carlisle crown court, referred to this lack of awareness when rejecting the appeal.

There had been no copy of the environmental permit at the store, no weekly checks on discharges and no sense of urgency, he found.

“Because of those aggravating features the overall penalty had to be substantial to mark what was a serious breach of environmental regulations,” he said. “The fines imposed totalled £75,000. The view of all of us is that arguably that was on the lenient side.”


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