CHARITIES will receive more than £1.5 million for projects benefitting wildlife and the environment as a result of enforcement action by the Environment Agency, it has been announced.
Companies which broke environmental laws – either by polluting rivers, breaching permit conditions designed to protect communities or avoiding recycling – have agreed to make payments to a range of charities and have pledged to make improvements to avoid future offences.
Thirty charities and projects in total will benefit from the bumper pay-out of £1,535,992.25. The money will be spent by local groups on projects that will make a direct positive impact on the environment. Stretches of rivers will be cleaned up, native species will be restocked into rivers and communities groups will invest in parkland for everyone to enjoy.
Twenty six companies are on the new list of Enforcement Undertakings with payments ranging from £1,500 – £375,000, including six companies that have agreed to make six-figure payments:
- Northumbrian Water Limited (£375,000) for pumping raw sewage into a tributary of the River Tyne.
- Filippo Berio UK Limited (£253,906.91) for failing to recover or recycle packaging waste.
- Anglian Water Services Limited have made two separate payments (£100,000 and £100,000) both for causing pollution incidents which killed fish.
- Heineken UK Limited (£160,000) for causing a pollution incident which killed fish.
- Kerry Ingredients UK Limited (£127,975) for causing a pollution incident which killed fish.
- Sandoz Limited (£120,932.23) for failing to recover or recycle packaging waste.
As well as making a suitable payment to an appropriate environmental charity, each company has accepted liability, demonstrated restoration of harm and invested to reduce the risk of similar breaches occurring in future.
The Environment Agency’s ability to accept Enforcement Undertakings was extended in 2015 to a far wider range of offences. The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for suitable cases to swiftly restore the environment, improve practices of the offending company and avoid longer criminal court cases. However prosecutions will still be taken, particularly in the most serious cases.
Hertfordshire & Middlesex Wildlife Trust will use the money to help conserve and protect rare chalk streams and Surrey Wildlife Trust will support a range of projects including care of their heathlands through conservation grazing and Hedgerow Heroes, a citizen science project, to restore the remarkable network of hedges across the county that act as green corridors for wildlife.