In court: Anglian Water agrees to a £50,000 enforcement undertaking

1st May 2018

P11 overflow shutterstock 1026571708

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Pollution: Water company Anglian Water is to pay £50,000 to an environmental charity, after a manhole overflowed with black sludge and grey liquid into a watercourse in Bedfordshire because of a blocked sewer.

The Environment Agency confirmed that an enforcement undertaking has been agreed, whereby Anglian would put right any damage caused by the pollution and donate to an environmental charity. It has also paid back the agency’s incurred costs of £3,451.

The money will benefit the local environment of Nene Valley and Ouse Valley Living Landscape areas, and is to be donated to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

The sewer blockage occurred in 2015 in the branch from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and included single-use shampoo sachets provided by the centre for its residents. The Environment Agency classified the incident as ‘Category 2’, owing to raised ammonia levels in the watercourse at Highfield Farm, near Ravensden.

Since the stretch of sewer was transferred to Anglian in 2011, there had been six blockages in the same area. Nothing had been mapped on its system until after this latest incident.

Chris Tate, team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Enforcement undertakings allow those who commit offences to restore the environment and take steps to prevent a recurrence. When appropriate, they allow a quicker resolution than a prosecution, and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to put things right voluntarily.”

Anglian has confirmed that practices for checking the sewer and at the immigration centre have since changed.

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