Thanks to Richard Ashley
EA Chair calls for courts to make fines for water pollution proportionate to companies’ turnover
The Chair of the Environment Agency Emma Howard Boyd has called for courts to make fines for water pollution incidents proportionate to the companies’ turnover, saying that the water companies are responsible for “at least one serious pollution incident every week.” Emma Howard Boyd was commenting on the publication by Ofwat of its agenda to improve water companies’ corporate behaviours in order to rebuild public trust in the water sector.
The EA Chair said:
“The courts need to make fines for pollution incidents proportionate to the turnover of companies. Sentencing guidelines in 2014 did bring in higher fines for environmental offences, but financial penalties must force board members to seriously consider environment risk, and not see it as an operational expense.” She welcomed the Secretary of State Michael Gove MP and Ofwat’s call for water companies to act as diligently for their customers and the natural world as their owners, referring to Ofwat’s suggestion that they should consider sharing water resources better.
Today, the Environment Agency is meeting senior water company representatives to agree how to increase collaboration and coordination across the sector.
However, Boyd warned despite the fact that since 2005, the water industry has invested billions in the environment and brought compliance for discharge at wastewater treatment works to 99 per cent, it was “not a moment for congratulations.”
“In line with the ambition of the 25 Year Environment Plan, water companies also need to do more to act on climate change. England’s flood and drought risks are increasing so we need to see more action to provide water security. Water companies shouldn’t think of climate resilience as just expenditure. On Friday, Mark Carney spoke of the major opportunity for investors and creditors it brings in long-term infrastructure.” Click here to visit the website
Environment Agency: You may use this Water Pollution Natural Capital calculator to estimate the loss to the public following a pollution incident to England’s waterways. Use this calculator if you plan to make a voluntary enforcement undertaking offer to the Environment Agency for a pollution incident that affected water. Click here for details
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An oil spill has led to the pollution of a six-mile (10km) stretch of the River Aire. The oil is thought to have entered Wyke Beck in Leeds on Thursday morning and spread as far as Castleford, the Environment Agency (EA) said. There have been no reports of impact to wildlife or fish but nearby Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve has been notified. The EA said its officers were investigating potential sources of the spill and has appealed for information … www.bbc.co.uk
Hundreds of fish have been found dead following suspected slurry pollution. The incident, has been described as a “devastating” population loss, in one of the main tributary streams leading to the Conwy River. An investigation has been launched by members of the Llanrwst Anglers Club reports the Daily Post. A spokesman for the organisation said that after spotting the first batch of dead fish, they then followed the stream and found hundreds along the water. Representatives from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have visited the site and are treating it as a suspected pollution incident … www.walesonline.co.uk
Eleven charities and campaign groups are demanding answers over the handling of the River Lea oil spill – which is yet to be cleared after starting over a month ago in the Pymmes Brook tributary. A joint letter claims the “slow emergency response” of both the government’s Environment Agency (EA) and waterways charity Canal & River Trust (CRT) has contributed to the “worst incident of waste crime in recent history”. It lists a number of alleged failures, including a lack of communication and resources, and says waterways were not closed quickly enough to prevent the oil from spreading …
A river in northern England has shocked locals by turning violently green. Farnley Beck in Leeds suddenly became an unnaturally luminous shade of green, as did a nearby lake in Armley. However, environmental officials have sought to allay fears for the local ecosystem, and after investigations have concluded that eco-friendly dye used to trace watercourses has made its way into the local rivers and waterways. The Environment Agency has said that despite the alarming appearance of the bright green water, are confident that it is not poisonous and are carrying out further tests to ensure that it “poses no risk to wildlife” … www.inews.co.uk