Demolition firm pays heavily for oil spill

A demolition company which failed to take elementary pollution prevention measures has ended up with a bill of more than £23,000.

Appearing before Cheltenham magistrates on 8 December, Wye Valley Demolition pleaded guilty to polluting a brook near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The court heard that Wye Valley was demolishing an oil storage tank at the site of a former mining company. However, correct procedures to prevent pollution were not followed, despite meetings between the Environment Agency and the company and the site's owners. The Agency said that the pollution risks were particularly high because an underground stream ran beneath the site. Wye Valley demolished a large storage tank in November last year without determining that it was empty or checking the integrity of the bund. Oil escaped into the bund, which had a gap in it, and escaped into drains and into Northway brook. An interceptor caught much of the oil, but the Agency had to employ contractors to clean up the remainder. It has billed Wye Valley £19,000 for the work. The company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,528.

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