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Water Pollution Prevention News

Covid 19, sewage discharges, illegal waste fines, criminal operations

Our current approach to Covid 19; this week Venice’s famously polluted canals have cleared for the first time in a very long time, mostly thanks to Covid-19 reducing the number of visitors to the city. At the same time the UK government’s new environment bill is coming under fire. It’s designed to ‘protect the UK’s natural environment like never before’ but in actual fact it’s riddled with loopholes that politicians and commerce can take advantage of in future. On a more positive note industrial fire is mostly off the radar this time around, with no stories to report, and industrial spills are also thin on the ground this week. Here’s the news.

Our current approach to the Coronavirus.

We have been thinking long and hard about how to respond to this awful situation.

One of the serious concerns right now is our lack of preparedness for this pandemic.

At Penstock Solutions we are preparing for what comes next.

At some point in this catastrophe industry will be called on to provide the things that we all need, we are already aware that there is a desperate shortage of ventilators.

Pharmaceutical, Medical Equipment and Food manufacturers are likely to be under a great deal of pressure in the very near future.

If there is anything that we could be doing to support you in your business we would be honoured to receive your call, please do not hesitate to let us know – +44 (0) 330 223 4372

Thoresby Hall Hotel sewage pollution – A £90,000 fine plus costs

Bourne Leisure Ltd owns Thoresby Hall Hotel near Newark. They’ve been fined for discharging partially treated sewage into the River Meden.

Bourne was fined £90,000 and asked to pay almost £45,000 towards the costs of the prosecution, plus a £170 victim surcharge. Apparently a suspected chemical spill that looked like a ‘milky cloud of pollution’ was spotted in the River Meden by an Environmental Agency worker nearby. It was tracked to the Thoresby Hall Hotel sewage treatment plant, which isn’t connected to the main sewage system but has a strict environmental permit in place controlling the quantity and quality of treated waste water discharged into the river.

The sewage plant is limited to a 141 cubic metre daily discharge, with more strict limits designed to make sure it only has a low biochemical oxygen demand, low ammonia levels, and a minimum of suspended solids. But these conditions had been breached ‘numerous times’ between April 2015 and September 2017.

Somerset illegal car breaker fined more than £400,000

The Environment Agency and Avon and Somerset Police brought the Somerset scrap dealer Wayne Hillard to court for running an illegal car breaking business. He has been ordered to pay over £400,000and faces a three year prison sentence if he fails to pay the penalty imposed by the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Hillard lied to investigators when challenged in early 2015. They suspected he was dismantling scrap cars, something he needed an environmental permit for thanks to the many hazardous components and materials contained in old cars. He denied it.

Audits of local scrap metal dealers later confirmed Hillard had been paid around £84,000 for car shells, engines, batteries, ferrous and non-ferrous metals over a 20 month period, also making money from exporting re-usable parts to Greece and Georgia. Proceeds of Crime investigators revealed Hillard made £1.3m while operating illegally, and even carried on the bad work following his guilty plea during 2018.

The prosecution is the result of a ‘prolonged period’ of offending that lasted six years, during which the defendant consistently ignored advice from The Environment Agency. Hillard was ordered to pay £384,100 plus costs of £16,629 and was handed an 18 month conditional discharge. If he re-offends he’ll be sentenced for the original offence as well as any new ones.

Rogue car parts company donates over £60,000 to marine charity

A car parts firm that failed to register as a producer of waste packaging has donated £61,966 to a marine charity, the Sea Life Trust. It’s part of an Enforcement Undertaking offered to The Environment Agency by the company, German, Swedish and French Car Parts Ltd. The Undertaking was designed to make amends for the company’s ignorance of the law around the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 and 2007.

The regulations are designed to make sure packaging materials like cardboard, plastics and glass are recycled rather than sent to landfill. Companies whose turnover is more than £2 million and who handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year must make sure a percentage of their waste gets recycled, either by registering with a packaging scheme or direct with The Environment Agency.

Enforcement Undertakings are used to address and restore the harm caused, prevent repeat offences, improve the behaviour of the offending company, and steer clear of long, expensive court cases.

Illegal waste licence £154, fines £2,512 – No contest!

A licence would have cost him just £154. But one Hull man, who decided he wouldn’t bother with a license, has been fined £2,512 for transporting waste illegally. That is not what we call a bargain!

The man was successfully prosecuted by The Environment Agency for illegally transporting scrap metal without a Waste Carrier Licence. He was fined £800, ordered to pay costs of £1,632, and paid a victim surcharge of £80.

If you transport waste as part of your business, whether or not the waste belongs to you, you need a Waste Carrier Licence. This man lied to Environment Agency officers when he was challenged, claiming he’d collected the waste from the streets as his civic duty. In fact he’d been acting illegally for some time.

This case sends out a strong message, revealing how seriously waste crime is taken these days. As The Environment Agency says, they will ‘continue to take action against rogue operators trying to circumnavigate environmental law for their own financial gain’.

Guard against the risk of water pollution with our help.

If you need help with your water pollution prevention and complying with the law, we’re here to help you do the decent thing. Just get in touch.

David Cole MSEE

David Cole MSEE

Technical Director

David is a pioneer of the spill containment and water pollution prevention industry with 30 years experience. He was instrumental in the development of CIRIA736 with The Environment Agency and is passionate about preventing water pollution.

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