Landlords not responsible for tenants' pollution

The High Court has ruled that the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) was not liable for water pollution which resulted from the activities of one of its tenants. Although protecting landlords from prosecution, the judgement poses problems for the National Rivers Authority (NRA) in policing pollution from industrial estates.

The NRA brought the case against the WDA following a substantial fish kill. This was traced to a discharge of caustic soda from the Ynfmaerdy industrial estate, near Llantrisant. The leak apparently originated from a tank kept by one of the WDA's tenants, Kawneer (UK).

The NRA decided to prosecute the estate's owner, the WDA, which had built the estate and obtained a discharge consent for surface drainage water from the site. The prosecut

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