Wessex Water pays for polluting nature reserve

3rd April 2020


Web p11 water pollution shutterstock 293328986

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Waste

Author

Sinead Bernard

Wessex Water offered to pay an enforcement undertaking of £35,000 towards environmental improvements at Stoborough Heath nature reserve after a sewer main burst in January 2018, polluting a surface water ditch.

Stoborough Heath is a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by the RSPB and Natural England. It has numerous water-filled ditches that are rich in plant and animal life.

The pollution had a severe impact on aquatic invertebrates over a distance of approximately 100 metres, deteriorating water quality. This was shown from raised levels of ammonia and sewage fungus in the ditch. There was no impact on the main watercourse.

Wessex Water reported the incident and later admitted an unauthorised discharge of sewage to a surface water ditch contrary to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016. It has since spent £50,000 installing a burst detection system along the rising main that caused the pollution.

Janine Maclean of the Environment Agency discussed the enforcement undertaking, commenting that the incident had had a clear and significant impact on Stoborough Heath. “The £35,000 enforcement undertaking has ensured local charities and projects benefit and will be spent on improving the local environment. The burst detection system installed by Wessex Water will ensure any future bursts will be detected earlier and prevent significant damage should a similar incident occur in the future.“

An enforcement undertaking is a civil sanction used in less serious cases where it is not in the public interest to prosecute. They can be used to change behaviour, ensure future compliance, put right any environmental harm, benefit those impacted and improve the environment.

The Environment Agency accepted Wessex Water's offer of £25,000 to the RSPB. The money will be spent on ditch and wetland habitat restoration at Lytchett Fields and heathland management at the RSPB's nearby Arne reserve.

In addition, Wessex Water offered £10,000 to Dorset Wildlife Trust towards environmental improvements as part of the Poole Harbour Catchment Partnership Project. It also carried out further actions to benefit an impacted third party, and agreed to pay the Environment Agency's £2,497.30 legal costs.

Picture credit: Shutterstock


Transform articles

Agency prosecution brings largest fine for a water company

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.

23rd September 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

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.

30th July 2021

Read more

Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.

5th July 2021

Read more

IEMA has today urged the UK government to focus on developing green skills and expertise across business, industry and civil society following the publication of an alarming report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

16th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert