Anglian Water has agreed to pay £100,000 to a Peterborough community interest company following a pollution incident at Flag Fen.
Anglian Water paid the sum to River Nene Regional Park, a local social enterprise. The payment follows a pollution incident at Anglian Water’s Flag Fen Water Recycling Centre (WRC).
In May 2013, storm tanks at Flag Fen WRC overflowed, discharging untreated sewage into the Counter Drain. Although the overflow occurred throughout May 2013, the environmental impact was localised and short lived. It only affected the Counter Drain, and did not adversely affect the River Nene.
Yvonne Daly, Environment Manager with the Environment Agency, said: “We work hard to protect people and the environment. In this case, we considered that the Enforcement Undertaking was an appropriate way to sanction the company while creating a benefit for the environment.
“Serious pollution can have devastating effects on rivers, fields and wildlife. In the most severe cases, we will still prosecute offenders.”
Because this was not a case of severe pollution, the Environment Agency decided to agree to a civil sanction called an Enforcement Undertaking (EU). Under the terms of this EU, Anglian Water offered to make a donation of £100,000 to the River Nene Regional Park. This donation will enable the River Nene Regional Park to employ a River Restoration Officer.
As part of the EU, Anglian Water has also agreed to take action to ensure that a similar incident does not recur. The company paid £13,486.43 in costs to the EA.
Along with prosecutions, the Environment Agency use enforcement notices, stop notices and civil sanctions to either improve performance or stop sites from operating. It is making better use of the wide range of measures that are available to bring sites back into compliance as quickly as possible.
The Environment Agency’s use of civil sanctions is in line with recent legislation extending their availability for more offences.
Civil sanctions such as these can be a proportionate and cost-effective way for businesses to make amends for less serious environmental offences.