Major House of Lords ruling on water pollution offences

An important ruling concerning the meaning of the key water pollution offences under the Water Resources Act 1991 has been given by the House of Lords. The lead judgement of Lord Hoffman in Empress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority (House of Lords, 5 February 1998) provides a fresh analysis of what is meant by "causing" water pollution, and implies that causation can apply even where the polluter takes no active steps. The decision will require industry and sewerage undertakers to pay extra attention to maintaining pollution control equipment and other preventative measures if they are to avoid criminal prosecution.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here


Call: 020 8267 8120

Take a 30-day trial

  • Join ENDS Report now and pay nothing for your first 30-days.



Prices on request

  • Full access to for 12 months
  • Monthly print issues
  • Clear and accessible guidance on relevant legislation
  • Integration with ENDS Compliance Manager helping you plan ahead and ensure compliance for your organisation
  • Individual or bespoke multi-user packages available

See all benefits

Need to activate your subscription?
Already a subscriber
If you haven't already, activate your subscription here>>
Company Domain Access
If your company or university has a corporate subscription simply register your email address here to gain access