Following investigations by the Environment Agency into water pollution offences, Eden Rivers Trust has received donations of £300,650 as part of Enforcement Undertakings (EUs) accepted from a number of polluters. Eden Rivers Trust will use the donations for environmental causes in the Eden catchment.
Enforcement Undertakings are a restorative enforcement sanction. Polluters can make an offer to the Environment Agency where possible to remediate their actions, or if not to mitigate the impact on the environment. As well as making changes to their operations to prevent future pollution incidents the polluter can offer to pay for environmental improvements through an environmental charity of their choice, as an alternative to any other enforcement action, and the Environment Agency decides whether this is an acceptable alternative to a prosecution. If these cases had gone to court, fines may have been imposed, however, any fine would not have directly benefitted the environment.
Environment Manager Sharon Kennedy said: “Enforcement undertakings allow polluters to positively address and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents. When appropriate they can 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”.
Chief Executive Elizabeth Radford added: “Eden Rivers Trust is grateful for the monies received from the polluters of the Eden which helps support our work to protect and conserve the rivers, tributaries and lakes of this catchment”
These donations, received since 2018, are being used to support 4 programmes:
- Protect: conserving river wildlife and habitats
- Water friendly farming: helping farmers to manage nutrient input on their land, and to keep it out of the rivers
- Connect: working with Eden’s communities helping them understand and explore their local river and volunteer on project sites
- Working with the Eden Catchment Partnership: ensuring all water management resources are targeted where the need for improvement is greatest
Offences for which the EUs were accepted:
£264,000 from United Utilities Water Limited: Section 4(1) Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 – Discharging matter or effluent that is poisonous or injurious to fish, spawn, spawning areas or food or fish in January 2015
£30,000 from Unincorporated partnership trading as A W Jenkinson Forest Products: Regulation 38(2) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 – Failing to comply with a permit condition (water discharge activity) in November 2017
£4,500 from A J Forster Limited: Regulation 38(1) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016- Causing a water discharge activity in January 2019
£2,150 from Seat Hill Limited: Regulation 38(1) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales Regulations) 2016—Causing a water discharge activity in March 2017