Water company pays £100K to charities after two pollution incidents in Northamptonshire

The company is taking steps to make sure the incidents where a poisonous matter was discharged at burst water mains are not repeated

By Carly Odell
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:58 pm

A water company has paid £100,000 to environmental charities after two pollution incidents in Northamptonshire.

Anglian Water breached the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act of 1975 when burst water mains discharged water contaminated with sediment five years ago.

The first took place in May 2016 at Billing Brook, Northampton and the second in July at Willow Brook, Corby.

Anglian Water was the subject to an Environment Agency investigation.

After investigating, Environment Agency officers found that the company had ‘discharged matter or effluent that is poisonous or injurious to fish, spawn, spawning areas or food of fish’.

Anglian Water submitted an Enforcement Undertaking agreeing to take steps to ensure similar incidents would not happen again and offered to pay £100,000 to charity.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We take our role protecting the environment extremely seriously.

"These two enforcement undertakings were offered as a result of clean water spills from two burst water mains in Northampton and Corby in May and July 2016 respectively.

"Both events occurred when soil from the area escaped with the flow of water while our teams were conducting repairs to the pipes.

"The water unfortunately escaped into the watercourses at Billing Brook and Willow Brook, however no damage to the environment was caused and our teams were quick to respond and isolate the issues as quickly as possible."

Having taken into account the circumstances of the case, the Environment Agency decided that it would be appropriate to accept the Enforcement Undertaking.

Adam Glassford an environment officer for the Environment Agency, added: “Enforcement Undertakings are voluntary offers made by companies and individuals to make amends for breaching environmental regulations, including through a financial contribution to a project that must secure environmental benefit/improvement to protect, restore or enhance the natural capital of England.

“When appropriate, they allow a better resolution for the environment than a prosecution as they require action to put things right in a way that directly benefits the environment and local communities.”

The water company has paid £50,000 to The Wildlife Trust (BCN) for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire and £50,000 to Growing Together Northampton.

The Environment Agency continues to prosecute organisations and individuals for environmental offences where evidence shows high levels of culpability and serious environmental harm.

Anyone who suspects a pollution should report it to the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident hotline by calling 0800 80 70 60.