Petrol leak costs Tesco £8m

19th June 2017


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Retail and wholesale ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Air ,
  • Control

Author

IEMA

Tesco has been prosecuted for leaking 23,500 litres of petrol into the sewerage system and local rivers in Lancashire.

The incident, in July 2014, led to residents having to seek medical help after petrol odours coming from the sewer network gave them headaches and nausea. The smell affected residents up to 1km away.

Some of the petrol also entered Langwood Brook and the River Irwell. More than 40 dead fish were found within 2.5 kilometres of where the pollution entered the watercourse, and anglers reported dead fish more than ten kilometres downstream.

The leak was caused by Tesco’s failure to address a known issue with part of the fuel delivery system and an inadequate alarm system at a petrol station operated by the retailer in Haslingden, north of Manchester, according to the Environment Agency. The supermarket’s emergency procedures were also found to be poor, the regulator said.

The incident sparked a multi-agency operation involving the Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council, United Utilities, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Police.

Around 23,500 litres of unleaded petrol leaked from the tank over a 29-hour period. Some 7,000 litres was recovered at the site and the remainder escaped into the sewer system and watercourse.

Mark Easedale, an environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: ‘This pollution incident had a dramatically negative impact on the local community and the environment, with Langwood Brook and the River Irwell severely affected.’

A week after the incident, officers from the regulator found that fish populations downstream of the Langwood Brook were around 90% lower than those found upstream, he added.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: ‘We sincerely regret the fuel spillage incident at our petrol station in Haslingden and we’re sorry for the impact it had on the local environment, our customers and the community.

‘This was a deeply unfortunate isolated incident and one for which we have taken full responsibility,’ he said.

Tesco has inspected other petrol stations and introduced real-time monitoring systems to prevent similar incidents, he added.

The prosecution was brought jointly by the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council.

Tesco pleaded guilty and was charged under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and Contravention of Regulation 6(8) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 contrary to s.33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974.

The supermarket was fined £3m for the environmental offence, and £5m for the health and safety breach. It was also ordered to pay costs of £35,434 to the Environment Agency and £22,000 to Lancashire County Council.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

A social conscience

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

While biodiversity net gain is now making inroads, marine net gain is still in its infancy. Ed Walker explores the balance between enabling development and safeguarding our marine environment

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Sarah Spencer on the clear case for stronger partnerships between farmers and renewable energy developers

6th June 2024

Read more

Groundbreaking legislation on air and noise pollution and measures to tackle growing concerns over disposable vapes provide the focus for Neil Howe’s environmental legislation update

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close