Integrated Waste Management (IWM) has agreed to pay £50,000 to the Horncastle-based ‘Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’ following allegations of pollution in Winteringham.
In July 2015, the Environment Agency (EA) received a report of dead fish in the Haven Drain in Winteringham.
Upon further investigation the EA found dead fish and low ammonia, indicating that pollution had taken place. 90 dead fish were counted, with EA officers estimating that 403 fish had been killed over a 4.4km stretch of watercourse.
EA officers traced the pollution back to the vicinity of Winterton North Landfill, a site which is operated by IWM. A leak as well as some blockage issues were found on site.
Following the incident, IWM agreed to pay £50,000 to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It also agreed to put measures in place to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future, and paid £7,041.70 in costs to the EA.
The Environment Agency uses civil sanctions, enforcement notices and stop notices along with prosecutions, to either improve performance or stop sites from operating. 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.
Simon Mitchell, Environment Manager with the Environment Agency, said: “At the Environment Agency we work hard on a day-to-day basis to protect the environment. In this particular case of pollution, the impact on the environment was limited. The company co-operated with our investigation and responded quickly to the incident.
“This is why we decided that an Enforcement Undertaking would be an appropriate way to sanction the company while contributing positively to the environment.
“We will still choose to prosecute offenders in the most severe cases.”
The enforcement Undertaking requires Integrated Waste Management to: make a donation of £50,000 to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, make improvements to site operations, and pay the Environment Agency £7,041.70 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 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/enforcement-undertakings-accepted-by-the-environment-agency