Northumbrian to pay out over £1M for pollution incidents
Northumbrian Water has agreed to pay out more than £1 million to environmental groups and wildlife trusts as the result of historic pollution incidents.
The company agreed five Enforcement Undertakings with the Environment Agency after accepting responsibility for offences in West Cornforth, Crook Beck, Chilton and Marske-by-the-Sea, which mostly involved breaching regulations at pumping stations.
Northumbrian will pay out a total of £1,179,500, with Durham Wildlife Trust receiving £145,000, Groundwork North East £50,000, Wear Rivers Trust £85,000, North East Environment Network £80,000, the Tweed Forum £15,000, Marine Conservation Society £188,000, Industry Nature Conservation Association £50,500, Tees Rivers Trust £253,000, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust £308,000, and Chilton Primary Friends £5,000.
Fiona Morris, of the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “We feel enforcement undertakings are a more balanced response to dealing with these environmental offences.
"The outcome is beneficial to the environment relevant to where the offence took place. It will also help to change the behaviour of the company and focus on their activities.
"This approach achieves more than if the company in question had been convicted and fined.
“In these cases, Northumbrian Water have taken action to rectify the situation and the environment will now benefit from some great work by local charities.
“We work hard to protect people and the environment, and a clear regulatory framework with agreed standards and targets has helped to drive major environmental improvements throughout the region.”
Richard Warneford, wastewater director at Northumbrian Water, said: “Over the last two years, we have been through a transformation in many of our wastewater processes, which has delivered a significant improvement in our performance towards our goal of having zero pollution incidents. The total number of pollutions in our area was the lowest nationally in 2017 and we further improved during 2018.
“In these incidents, which happened in 2015 and 2016, we reacted as quickly as possible to minimise the impact and have since worked hard to reduce the likelihood of such problems occurring in these or other areas again, including £1 million of work to proactively assess our sewer network close to watercourses and other activity to upgrade vulnerable assets.
“Our goal is to avoid all pollution incidents associated with our assets. However, in the rare instances where an event has occurred, we are in support of the use of Enforcement Undertakings, which allow the local community to benefit from the funding offered.
“The recipients of this money have plans that will benefit the local environment, and we see this is a valuable use of such funding.”
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