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Textile company R Soper fined 5,000 GBP for polluting beck
25
Jun '09
Textile manufacturers, R Soper Limited (trading as Albert Hartley), have been fined £5,000 for discharging effluent into Stock Beck, Barnoldswick. They have also been ordered to pay costs of £1,489.29.

R Soper pleaded guilty to the offence of causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters, in September 2008. The pollution occurred when a storage container was damaged, causing waste effluent to drain into the nearby Beck.

The Court heard that the Environment Agency was contacted by a member of the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust, reporting pollution to Stock Beck at the rear of the company's premises, at Crow Nest Mill, Barnoldswick. The discharge coated algae on the stream bed with a grey silty deposit and killed a significant number of invertebrates, including beetles, worms and freshwater limpets.

A storage container on the site collapsed whilst being removed for dismantling and disposal. Although the container was not in use, some liquid waste remained and this leaked out into a yard that drains directly into Stock Beck. The silty residue that discharged into the Beck is thought to have contained chemicals involved in a finishing process, used at the site, to apply a special coating to fabrics. The exact quantity of effluent that entered the watercourse is not known, but there was a significant impact on a 100 metre stretch of the Beck downstream of the company's premises.

The Court was told that the Environment Agency had visited the company's premises, in April 2007, as part of a pollution prevention campaign. The Environment Agency had advised the company on how to minimise the environmental risk to nearby Stock Beck and detailed a number of measures that should be taken in order to achieve this. In particular, the removal of storage containers and, where they remained on site, provision of a secure storage area. Although the company had stated that it was taking steps to comply with the Environment Agency's requests, the required measures had not been fully implemented when this incident occurred.

Commenting on the case, Helen Nightingale, Environment Management Team Leader said, “This was a serious pollution incident which had a significant impact on wildlife in Stock Beck. This incident highlights the importance of investing in pollution prevention measures to minimise the environmental risks posed by any company's activities. The Environment Agency is keen to work with and provide advice to companies to help prevent incidents of this kind. This incident caused significant damage to the environment, which could have been avoided.”

Environment Agency

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