Burnley firm fined £10k over pollution
1:00pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
MORE than 200 dead fish were discovered in the Rivers Brun and Calder after a pollution leak at a Burnley metal finishing firm, a court heard.
Bosses at RS Plating, of Widow Hall Road, have now been fined £10,000 with £4,000 costs by Reedley magistrates over the November 2011 incident, which affected stretches of the Brun through Thompson Park.
Several complaints about dead fish were made to the Environment Agency on November 9 and 10 and officers found 30 dead trout and smaller species such as minnows, bullheads and stone loaches.
Jack Spees, the director of the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust, also spotted around 100 dead fish in the Brun and Calder across the town centre.
And an agency fisheries officers located another 49 dead trout along with a number of minnows.
An investigation tracked the cause of the spill to a tributary of the River Brun at Heasandford allotments, off Netherwood Road.
Around 100 litres of sodium hypochlorite from RS Plating had escaped from their Heasandford industrial estate premises from a punctured container, which had leaked into surface drains leading to the river.
Prosecutors told magistrates that there was ‘inadequate pollution prevention measures’ as the company’s response was to flush the chemical into the drains without contacting the agency. While managers at the firm initially co-operated with the agency inquiry, no representative attended for interview or the court hearing and they were convicted in their absence.
Steve Molyneux, an agency environment manager, said: "We are happy with the outcome of this court case, which sends out a clear message that those responsible for polluting our waterways will be prosecuted for their irresponsible actions.”
MR Spees added: “The River Brun is a real asset for the community and we welcome the actions of the Environment Agency.
“We are currently working on our Urban Rivers Enhancement Scheme (URES) for Burnley and this result helps emphasise that people must take great care not to pollute our waterways.”
The firm was unavailable for comment.