Silt pollution lands civil engineers £8,000 fine

Civil engineering firm Baram has been fined £8,000 after polluting a tributary of the river Loddon in Reading with silt, severely affecting invertebrate life.

On 26 April last year, Environment Agency officers undertook a routine visit to a building site in Winnersh near Reading. There they found significant amounts of silt on the bed of a stream running next to the site.

Investigations revealed that Baram was laying down sewers for a housing development. In the process, it had pumped water that had not been sufficiently de-silted directly into the stream.

The officers advised the company that it had committed an offence, but when they returned the next day it had not stopped discharging the water. Over 350 metres of the watercourse was now affected by the silt.

Appearing before Reading magistrates on 20 January, the company pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters, contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. It was fined £8,000 with £1,185 costs.

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