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Scunthorpe Transport Company Fined Following Diesel Spill

Posted on 6th June, 2013

 

A Scunthorpe transport company has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £28,300  by Scunthorpe Magistrates Court, following a discharge of diesel fuel from an on-site storage tank.

Westram Limited, recently pleaded guilty at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court to charges relating to the pollution of a tributary of the Bottesford Beck and the uncontrolled storage of oil. The transport company, based at the time at Raventhorpe Lodge, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, was ordered to pay a £23,000 fine and £5,300 in costs.

Westram Limited was charged by the Environment Agency for one offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010 for discharging diesel oil into a tributary of the Bottesford Beck, and for three further offences under the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.

The court heard that on 13 January 2011 a member of the public was walking his dogs alongside the Bottesford Beck, and noticed a strong smell of diesel. The following day, he and another member of the public noticed an oil slick had covered the surface of the water and a strong diesel smell was still present. With concern for the wildlife in the area, both individuals and several others reported the matter.

The Environment Agency responded to the incident, took water samples from the tributary and the Bottesford Beck confirming that oil was present, and deployed oil absorbent booms to prevent further spread of the pollution. The investigation established that oil had discharged from a tank on site, and had entered a tributary of the Bottesford Beck via a surface water drainage pipe. There was significant loss of oil to this watercourse which ultimately drains into the Bottesford Beck.  Oil was seen on the Bottesford Beck for up to four kilometres downstream.
 
 
In mitigation, the court was told that the company had entered an early guilty plea and took action, through contractors, to remediate the oil pollution in the beck after the spill.
 
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency Officer said, “We expect all companies who store oil to do so responsibly in accordance with the regulations, and to have effective spill response procedures in place to minimise any environmental risk. Had these steps been carried out in this case, the pollution and resulting prosecution could have been avoided."
 
IandR Service's David Cather says, "This case highlights that the authorities will prosecute companies who cause pollution and will seek punative fines.  The Environment Agency's comments stressing the requirement on companies to have effective spill response procedures in place are telling.  In the event that a spill occurs from business premises having a spill response plan and adequate absorbents in place to deal with a fuel or chemical loss can be taken as a mitigating factor.
 
"If you're at all concerned about your businesses preparedness to deal with a situation like this contact IandR today and we're happy to give free no obligation advice on correct storage of fuel and chemicals and on how to develop an adequate spill response plan."


 

 

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