Builders fined for pollution offences

Water pollution has cost two national construction firms almost £25,500 in fines and costs.

Carillion and Wilson Bowden, part of the Barratt Group, were fined by Derby magistrates on 12 November, after each pleaded guilty to one charge brought under the Water Resources Act 1991.

The charges were for water pollution around Castlewood Grange, a development site near South Normanton, Derbyshire. Site owner Wilson Bowden was fined £10,000 with £5,098 costs. Carillion, the principal contractor, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,398 costs.

The case stemmed from a complaint received by the Environment Agency on 8 August 2007. It was from the owner of Brookhill Hall, who complained that the pond in the grounds was silting up as a result of works at Castlewood Grange. A tributary of the Maghole brook rises within the site and flows into the pond.

Investigations on 10 August revealed soft yellow sediment in the pond. An inspection of Castlewood Grange revealed there was no settlement lagoon to treat runoff contaminated with sediment during excavation work.

By 15 August, the brook had become dammed with clay and was accumulating discoloured water. Tests showed high levels of suspended solids likely to affect aquatic life. A balancing pond to treat run-off was not put in place until mid-October.

Speaking after the case, Neil Ratcliffe, an agency officer involved in the investigation, said: "This case clearly shows the need for thorough planning and adequate pollution prevention measures. This incident could have been easily avoided and the pollution could potentially have harmed plants, fish and invertebrates."

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