GALLERY: Chemical company ordered to pay £92,0000 for polluting the River Nene
- Credit: Archant
A CHEMICAL company responsible for thousands of fish dying in the River Nene – which also closed down cockle fishing in the Wash-, has been ordered to pay £92,000 in fines and costs.
Pollution from the Safapac site at Orton Southgate killed and damaged fish – mainly roach- as far away as Whittlesey and Wisbech.
The company appeared before Peterborough Crown Court on Friday after previously pleading guilty to causing the pollution in June of last year. The company claimed vandals damaged containers allowing 5,000 litres of three different chemicals to get into drains.
Judge Nic Madge said: “The environment is a precious heritage and we need to preserve it for the future. Companies need to keep premises safe.”
Mark Watson, prosecutor for the Environment Agency, said there was a “clear and substantial” impact on all living things in the Orton Brook and River Nene for at least nine miles.
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Pollution had an impact along 28 miles of the brook and river.
He said the pollution could have been prevented if the chemicals had been stored securely. On the morning of the pollution, Safapac staff had arrived to find taps on storage containers had been opened and a ladder used to get in.
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A Safapac manager told environment officers that staff closed an emergency valve within 15 minutes, and the police and Environment Agency were notified.
He said CCTV was not recording at the time. Chemicals are now stored in locked shipping containers.
After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Adam Shamma said: “Safapac would have prevented this incident if their chemicals had been stored in a secure, bunded area.”