Housing firm's payout after pollution incident

The Environment Agency accepted the offer by Bloor Homes Limited
The Environment Agency accepted the offer by Bloor Homes Limited
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A housing developer has donated £35,000 to Ribble Rivers Trust after it polluted Barrow Brook.

The Environment Agency (EA) accepted an enforcement undertaking offer from Bloor Homes Limited after it polluted the brook, a tributary of the River Ribble, in September 2015, while building houses at Pendle Hill View, Barrow.

It is believed, construction work on the site began in late summer 2014 and despite the company taking a number of precautionary steps to prevent surface waters contaminating Barrow Brook in September 2015, EA staff observed the site’s main surface water outfall discharging silty water into Barrow Brook.

Since then the contamination has stopped and the company has taken action to prevent a recurrence.

Work undertaken or ongoing includes hiring and running a filtration system to remove silt from the water before discharge, introducing a daily river discharge check sheet to ensure the brook is being regularly monitored for signs of pollution as well as introducing a new company environmental policy which will be adapted locally for each of their new building sites.

As part of the EU, which was completed last month, the company has donated £35,000 to the Ribble Rivers Trust for use in its "Brilliance Project", which will benefit the local environment. The company has also paid the EA's costs.

Enforcement Undertakings are a new kind of restorative enforcement sanction. Polluters can make an offer to the EA to pay for or carry out environmental improvements as an alternative to any other enforcement action and the EA decides whether this is acceptable. If this case had gone to court the company may have faced a large fine, however, any fine would not have directly benefited the environment.

Jackie Monk, environment agency officer, said: “Enforcement undertakings allow polluters to positively address and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents. When appropriate they offer quicker and more directly beneficial resolution than a court prosecution, and help offenders who are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to voluntarily make things right, working with their local communities. We will continue to seek prosecutions against those who cause the most severe pollution or who act deliberately or recklessly."