Careless pesticide disposal costs farmer £6,600

Sussex farmer Peter Foulger paid a high price for his careless disposal of leftover pesticide which he found while clearing out a barn, Horsham magistrates heard on 20 November.

Mr Foulger found a couple of inches of pesticide in an unmarked 20-litre container in January and disposed of it by pouring it onto land near a ditch. Following heavy rain a week later, fish began to die in his farm pond. Mr Foulger rang the Environment Agency to report the incident. The pond had an outflow to a local brook, and the Agency was able to prevent the contamination spreading downstream. Some 200 fish in the pond died and the water was found to contain high levels of dinoseb, a herbicide which was banned in 1991 because of its toxicity to aquatic life. Mr Foulger pleaded guilty to causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters, contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. Mr Foulger was fined £900 and ordered to pay costs of £700. The court heard that he had also paid £5,000 to remove contaminated soil from the farm and treat the pond water with activated carbon.

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