Yorkshire Water fined £600k over pollution in watercourse

Yorkshire Water has been described as 'reckless' by a judge and fined £600,000 for polluting a Staithes watercourse.

Leeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

Sewage leaked from a poorly-maintained tank, Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday, polluting Dales Beck in July 2015 where up to 100 dead fish were found.

The company was sentenced after admitting one charge of causing a water discharge activity without an environmental permit. The pollution had originated from the firm’s Hinderwell Waste Water Treatment Works, and an ‘abnormal situation’ was declared in Staithes Harbour amid concerns over the water quality.

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The court heard that, as well as causing the pollution, Yorkshire Water also failed to act quickly in cleaning it up with sludge still being removed three months later.

In sentencing, Judge Khokhar said the company had been reckless, rather than just negligent.

In mitigation, Yorkshire Water told the court that it had invested in measures to prevent the incident recurring. A gully guard had been installed to contain any future spillages within the site, and an alarm had been installed on the sludge tank. The tank has now been replaced.

The company was also ordered to pay £28,078.10 in legal costs.

Paul Carter from Yorkshire Water said the company took its responsibilities seriously. The pollution, he stressed, was a one off incident relating to a structural issue with a tank which had since been replaced.

“This incident obviously does not meet with the high standards we set for our environmental performance and we sincerely apologise for the impact of the pollution into Dales Beck.”