Drinks company fined £36,000 for polluting river

Environment Agency, 10-Aug-2011
Universal Beverages Ltd, a subsidiary of Heineken UK Ltd pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ Court to seven offences on 2 August 2011.
The company, of Little Marcle Road, Ledbury, was fined £36,000, ordered to pay £20,825 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.
The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Section  85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.
Nicholas Cole, on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court how the site was a former jam factory which had been converted to mill fruit. Between 21 October 2008 and 22 January 2009 there were a number of incidents where the Preserves Brook, which runs through the company’s site and into the River Leadon, was found to be polluted with leachate from apple waste. Environment Officers found large piles of apple waste next to the brook, from which polluting liquid was leaching out and into the watercourse. The levels of pollution in  the brook far exceeded the permitted levels.
On 14 September 2009, Environment Officers went to the Preserves Brook after reports of pollution by a member of the public. The brook downstream of the company’s site was found to be a greyish white colour with sewage fungus on the brook bed.  It was identified that floor cleaning fluid had been poured down a surface water drain which lead to the brook. The company subsequently identified that a drain from the boilerhouse on site had been wrongly connected to the surface water drainage system. This meant that contaminated boiler water was also being discharged to the brook.
On 25 September 2009, officers from the Environment Agency were called after reports of dead fish in the River Leadon. Officers attended the area on 26, 27 and 28 September 2009 where the dead fish were observed. On the 30 September 2009 a biological survey was conducted on sections of the River Leadon and Preserves Brook. The results from the sampling of the brook indicated it had suffered from significant organic pollution. Sewage fungus was also observed in the river. During a further visit to the site on 30 September 2009, Environment Officers identified red coloured polluting matter in the brook immediately downstream of the company’s site, a sample of the red coloured liquid taken from the brook smelt of apples.
The investigations also identified several breaches of the conditions of the environmental permit. An Enforcement Notice was served to the company for revised operational procedures, completion of training and outstanding improvement conditions.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “It is the company’s responsibility to ensure that they have a full understanding of the operation of their site and have adequate control measures and staff training in place to prevent polluting material from impacting on the quality of the local environment. We take such matters seriously and will prosecute where circumstance justify.”
In mitigation, the company was given credit for its early guilty pleas and the proactive stance taken by the new site management on environmental issues. On behalf of the company, Stuart Ponting, offered sincere apologies for what had been an operator error and management failings which had now been remedied.
Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Family fishing day at Little Britain Lake

Over 600 budding new anglers had the opportunity to try fishing for the first time when visiting a free community event at Little Britain Lake. 
The Family Fishing day is run by Hillingdon Council in partnership with Les Webbers Angling Projects and is now into its third sucessful year. It is a real credit to all the organisers and everyone involved in getting kids away from the computer games and television to experience the environment and nature at its best.
Thames Anglers Conservancy volunteers were in attenance along with other angling clubs to offer coaching and advice to the kids and adults who came along and gave it a go.
Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot spent the day chatting to parents and children alike and was joined by angling legend John Wilson.
A TAC volunteer in action
 
The finer points of fishing tackle
 
Success, a first ever fish
 
And if it rains, keep going..
 
TAC
Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

What do invasive species cost the UK

Environment Agency wages war on invasive wildlife that threatens our green and pleasant land. Invasive species now cost the UK economy an estimated £1.7billion every year. They cause damage to riverbanks and buildings, increase flood risk, crowd out and kill off native wildlife and become so prolific on waterways that fishermen, boaters and anglers are unable to use them. The cost of clearing land, such as construction sites, of invasive plants can run into the millions. The rise of invasive species is also a major challenge in meeting tough new EU targets on the ecology of rivers and lakes. The Environment Agency currently spends over £2million a year controlling invasive species, and is this year increasing its efforts with partners such as Natural England by targeting some of the £18m funding provided by Defra to help more English rivers meet the new EU targets. While Britain’s rivers are the healthiest for over 20 years and otters, salmon and other wildlife are returning for the first time since the industrial revolution, rivers that harbour non-native species could fall short of these tough new standards. Trevor Renals, invasive species expert at the Environment Agency said: “River water quality is the best its been since before the industrial revolution. But if we don’t control invasive species, we risk losing some of our precious native species and incurring even more clean up costs. We could also fall short of the strict EU targets for our rivers and lakes. “The Environment Agency will be working with other environment bodies as well as community and volunteer groups to manage the spread of these damaging plants and animals. We would urge everyone to help stop the spread of these species by making sure that garden and pond plants don’t end up near rivers and parkland and thoroughly cleaning any fishing, boating and canoeing equipment when moving between waterways.” Top 10 most wanted Invasive Species Killer Shrimp Water primrose Floating pennywort American Signal Crayfish Top Mouth Gudgen Giant Hogweed Japanese Knotweed Himalayan Balsam Mink Chinese Mitten Crab
Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Environment Agency teams up with Crimestoppers to report environmental crime anonymously

The Environment Agency is offering the public and businesses a new way to report environmental crime anonymously – through Crimestoppers.
The Environment Agency is teaming up with Crimestoppers, the well-known charity that allows people to provide information about crime anonymously.
Environmental Crime Team Leader David Eden said: “The Environment Agency gathers evidence in an intelligence led way, analysing all the information we receive on environmental crime to see where there are patterns and trends and where crime hotspots are emerging.
“However, we are only as good as the information we receive from members of the public, who can act as our eyes and ears on the ground every day.
“Environmental crime not only harms the environment and its communities but also has a dramatic impact on legitimate, law abiding businesses. We are proud to be working in partnership with Crimestoppers to stamp out environmental crime.”
Dave Cording, Crimestoppers’ Deputy Chief Executive said: “Environmental crime can be harmful to animals, unsightly and expensive to clean up and have a real impact on people’s lives. “This new initiative will allow people to pass on information about environmental crime anonymously, and enable us to help the Environment Agency bring successful prosecutions against those who flout the law and bring misery to people and damage the environment.” Crimestoppers guarantees that: • You will never be asked for your name • Your call will not be recorded • Your call or online form will not be traced • You will not have to make a statement • You will not appear in court
There are certain areas of environmental crime that the Environment Agency is particularly interested, including: • Large scale illegal dumping of waste (more than two large skips worth of waste). • The illegal export of waste tyres, waste electrical equipment, and municipal waste • Eel and elver poaching • Fish theft and illegal fish stocking
To report live incidents of environmental crime people can still call the EA Incident Line 0800 80 70 60 24hrs a day 7 days a week.
If you have information on these areas and you want to report anonymously please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or alternatively use the online form at https://secure.crimestoppers-uk.org/ams.form.anonymous.asp
Other examples of waste crime that the Environment Agency wants to hear about are:
• Illegal household or black bag waste found in a shipping container waiting to be shipped abroad • Large scale illegal dumping is blighting our picturesque landscape • Waste computers that were going to be illegally exported. Vulnerable people abroad remove precious metals within these computers by burning off the plastics; which damages their health and the environment.
Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

An Evening with the TAC – Mike Wilson Part 2

On the 14th July Thames Anglers Conservancy members enjoyed a second talk by Carp legend and angling historian Mike Wilson.

Mike’s first evening in February was simply not long enough so when the opportunity arose to host another event, it was one not to be missed.

Mike Wilson in full flow

The evening was unique as took place in the open air at Teddington Lock, members were asked to bring along a fishing chair and brolly in case of inclement weather, luckily for all it stayed fine.

A perfect evening to be by the river

Mike treated everyone to a talk about the history of what we know as modern day fishing tackle and had many examples that have been carefully preserved overtime. Mike’s knowledge is simply staggering and no doubt there will have to be ‘part 3’.

Teddington Lock in full bloom

We would like to thank Mike for his time again, the Environment Agency for allowing us to use the lock and to Jeff Kennet for making it all happen.

TAC

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

New EA powers improve environmental investment

22-Jul-2011 The Environment Agency is the first enforcement body to use new civil sanctions – against an organisation that broke environmental regulations – as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

 

The Environment Agency has accepted an offer of £21,000 from Invensys PLC – an engineering and information technology company headquartered in London – for packaging waste offences. This funding will be given to specified organisations to drive environmental improvements in local communities. In addition to implementing a string of improvements to comply with Packaging Waste Regulations, the company has offered to fund “environment improvements and community benefits” equivalent to the cost of the offences committed – including a local authority led community recycling initiative.

In addition, the cost of the Environment Agency investigation and future monitoring are covered. By using civil sanctions in this way the Environment Agency is using its enforcement powers to ensure compliance and drive environmental improvements from regulatory breaches.

Environment Agency Director of Environment and Business, Ed Mitchell said: “Civil sanctions are an alternative to criminal prosecution for less serious environment offences – such as breaking packaging waste regulations. “They allow us to secure regulatory compliance from organisations, eliminate any financial gain from non-compliance and get them to react responsibly to the offending. “Organisations can make reparations that focus on environmental improvements and providing benefits for the local people affected by the offences. “Adding civil sanctions to our enforcement toolkit saves the Environment Agency time and money – freeing up our legal resources to prosecute more serious environmental offenders.” They are available for some, but not all, of the offences the Environment Agency enforce and started being used on 4 January 2011.

Thirty offers have been made by a range of organisations that have broken environmental regulations and propose innovative ways of responding responsibly to the offending, including setting up a local community recycling awareness scheme, donations to a range of environmental charities and provision of funding for a local school environmental project. All offers contain measures aimed to secure compliance now and in the future, to eliminate any financial gain or benefit from non-compliance, and to deter future non-compliance.

Invensys PLC self-reported their packaging waste offences (which occurred between 1998- 2010). The group and some of its subsidiaries had not been properly registered under Packaging Waste Regulations as they had considered obligations as separate companies (meaning they fell below the threshold for company size) not as part of a group.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Vote for the best River Thames lock

22-Jul-2011

River Thames’ users are invited to vote for the best kept lock as the Environment Agency launches its annual waterways awards this week.

Voting opens today (Friday 22 July 2011) for the ‘Best Lock Site’ award. River users and other members of the public who visit the rural River Thames between Lechlade and Teddington are being asked to vote.

The Thames Waterways Award rewards the hard work of waterways staff along the River Thames and encourages good customer relations.

Matt Carter, Waterways Operations Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “ A variety of people contribute to the overall customer experience – permanent staff, seasonal staff and for the first time this year – volunteers. The awards provide a chance for members of the public to let us know how we are doing on the River Thames, so we can reward these people for their great teamwork.”

Votes can be cast online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/bestthameslock from now until Sunday 31 October and winners will be announced in December.

When voting for the Best Lock Site, river users are asked to rate the level of service received at the lock and consider the locks’ gardens, general maintenance, cleanliness and availability of information.

Everyone who casts a vote this year will be entered into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a 20 per cent discount on next year’s River Thames boating licence.

The 2011 waterways awards are kindly sponsored by Atkins Ltd. and Peter Brett Associates LLP.

Posted in News | Comments Off

Environment Agency urges farmers and water companies to act now in response to drought

12-Jul-2011

Action should be taken now to protect water supplies for business, agriculture, the environment and people – thereby minimising the risk of water restrictions in the future, says a new report from the Environment Agency.

It recommends that more farmers should invest in winter storage and that water companies plan ahead for more long, dry periods and continue running campaigns to encourage customers to reduce water.

The Drought Prospects report was commissioned by Defra in response to the recent widespread drought across eastern England. It has been sent to the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman.

The report shows that a dry winter could lead to significant problems in drought-hit areas next year and urges action to minimise the impacts.

This year’s drought has left public water supplies largely unaffected. However, businesses which pump water from rivers have seen some restrictions put in place to prevent damage to the environment. Farmers have been hardest hit, since they rely heavily on abstractions from rivers to irrigate crops during the spring and summer.

Key findings and recommendations

The Environment Agency report includes the following key findings and recommendations:

• Water companies in drought affected areas should follow their drought plans which include co-ordinated campaigns for using water wisely, targeted at domestic and business users.

• Water companies should also prepare plans based on different rainfall scenarios that might occur during the winter, so they are ready to take action if necessary

• Farmers should act now to consider how to meet their future water needs. They can become more drought resilient by constructing reservoirs – those farmers who do not have a winter storage reservoir should investigate whether building one is feasible and possible sources of financial support.

• Farmers need to work together to develop solutions to ensure current supplies last as long as possible. This could include the continuation of ‘water cooperatives’ to share water and applying voluntary restrictions when required to avoid formal measures.

The Environment Agency said that timely and prudent actions taken now will maximise the ability of the public, farmers, businesses and the environment to withstand the impacts of any long drought.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“While we have had some much needed rain in recent weeks, events like this year’s drought could become ever more common and all the main players; water companies, farmers and consumers will have a role in dealing with this in the future. I asked for this report so we can be better prepared in the future. The recommendations will inform our White Paper that will lay out our plans to deliver affordable, efficient and sustainable water use.”

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency said:

“This year’s drought, despite recent rain in some parts of the country, has been a wake-up call. It has been tough for many farmers and we are working hard to find ways to help them, while also protecting the environment.

“We are better prepared than ever for extreme drought, but there is always more that can and should be done. Our report urges water companies, farmers and other businesses to look again at ways to store water and reduce and share the amount they use.

“Leading companies are already implementing water efficiency plans which will also help reduce their costs and carbon footprint. There is a careful balance to be struck to meet the water needs of businesses, farmers, households and the environment and everyone has a part to play.”

 

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

River Avon oil spill costs company over £31,500

 

08-Jul-2011

Yesterday (Thursday 7 July 2011), at Worcester Magistrates Court, Dawn Foods Limited pleaded guilty to two charges that resulted in the pollution of the River Avon in June 2010.

Dawn Foods Limited, the manufacturers of baked goods, based in Worcestershire, were fined £23,500 and ordered to pay £7,950 in costs.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and Control of Pollution (Oil storage) Regulations 2001.

On 6 June 2010, Environment Agency officers attended a report of oil on the River Avon near to Sankey Marina, Evesham. Oil was present in large patches across the width of the river which was between 30 and 35 metres wide. The Environment Agency placed a pollution control boom on the river in order to collect and contain the spill. Investigations confirmed that Dawn Foods Ltd were the source of vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) entering the watercourse.

Dawn Foods Limited reported a spill of approximately 5,000 litres of rapeseed oil at their premises at Worcester Road to the Environment Agency. They indicated that a bund in place around the oil tank had not contained the leak. As a result, approximately 800 litres entered the River Avon. Upon investigation, Environment Agency officers noted that the oil had escaped from a storage tank via a flexible pipe, fixed in place with a jubilee clip, which had become detached. The use of a jubilee clip is not an industry recognised practice. The oil had leaked into company’s surface water drains and discharged into the surface sewer and ultimately into the River Avon.

Up to two miles of the River Avon was affected by the oil slick between the premises of Dawn Foods Limited and Fladbury. Two swans and a duck had to be removed and treated by Bishopswood Swan Rescue for oil contamination. The duck was so badly oiled it couldn’t fly.

A representative of Dawn Foods Ltd attended formal interview under caution on 16 July 2010. They company admitted that that the oil in the river was their vegetable oil from their storage tank.

In passing sentence, the Court took into account the fact that the company had no previous convictions, they cooperated fully with the Environment Agency, they had borne the clean up costs and had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency spokesperson said "This incident could have been avoided if the company had properly considered the environmental risks associated with their business activities. Dawn Foods Limited had poor knowledge of their own site drainage. They did not have a plan of what to do in the event of a spillage at the site and unfortunately this resulted in the pollution incident and today’s court appearance.”

Businesses need to be aware of the potential costs to the environment, their finances and reputation should a pollution incident such as this occur. Having an Accident or Pollution Incident Management Plan detailing the actions to be taken in such circumstances, will help to minimise impact of the environment.

To help businesses avoid and deal with pollution incidents, the Environment Agency has a range of advice and guidance on their website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/pollution/32252.aspx

Members of the public are asked to report pollution incidents, or sightings of dead/struggling fish in their local watercourse, to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Review of the Hydropower Good Practice Guidelines

The Environment Agency have started a consultation into the current Hydropower Good Practice Guidelines published in 2009.
The document has been produced by the Environment Agency with the support of the Hydropower Working Group. The Group brings together key representatives from interest groups and partners to secure the delivery of hydropower across England and Wales in an environmentally sustainable way.
The new consultation can be found here
Existing Guildlines can be found here
Closing date for submissions is 23/09/2011
Information on all Thames Hydropower projects, Anglers and Hydropower
Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off