Anglian Water Services Ltd has agreed to pay £100,000 to a local community interest company following a pollution incident in Peterborough.
Anglian Water paid the sum to River Nene Regional Park, a local social enterprise. The payment follows a pollution incident at Anglian Water’s Flag Fen Water Recycling Centre (WRC).
In May 2013, storm tanks at Flag Fen WRC overflowed, discharging untreated sewage into the Counter Drain. Although the overflow occurred throughout May 2013, the environmental impact was localised and short-lived. It only affected the Counter Drain, and did not adversely affect the River Nene.
Because this was not a case of severe pollution, the Environment Agency decided to agree to a civil sanction called an Enforcement Undertaking (EU). Under the terms of this EU, Anglian Water offered to make a donation of £100,000 to the River Nene Regional Park. This donation will enable the River Nene Regional Park to employ a River Restoration Officer.
As part of the EU, Anglian Water has also agreed to take action to ensure that a similar incident does not recur. The company paid £13,486.43 in costs to the EA.
Along with prosecutions, the Environment Agency use enforcement notices, stop notices and civil sanctions to either improve performance or stop sites from operating. It is making better use of the wide range of measures that are available to bring sites back into compliance as quickly as possible.
The Environment Agency’s use of civil sanctions is in line with recent legislation extending their availability for more offences.
Civil sanctions such as these can be a proportionate and cost-effective way for businesses to make amends for less serious environmental offences.
Yvonne Daly, Environment Manager with the Environment Agency, said:
“We work hard to protect people and the environment. In this case, we considered that the Enforcement Undertaking was an appropriate way to sanction the company while creating a benefit for the environment.
“Serious pollution can have devastating effects on rivers, fields and wildlife. In the most severe cases, we will still prosecute offenders.”
The Enforcement Undertaking requires Anglian Water to:
- Make a donation of £100,000 to the River Nene Regional Park Community Interest Company
- Make improvements to site operations
- Pay Environment Agency £13,486.43 in costs
Failure to comply with an EU may result in the offender being prosecuted for the original offence. Details of Enforcement Undertakings accepted by the Environment Agency can be found on our website here.
Notes to editors:
Anglian Water Services Ltd discharged sewage effluent into the Counter Drain from Flag Fen Water Recycling Centre, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire between 8 May and 1 June 2013. This is contrary to section 4(1) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
The EU was accepted on 12 July 2016.