£230,000 bill for BP following pipeline negligence

BP Oil International has been told to pay a hefty fine following a spillage of thousands of gallons of aircraft fuel from a pipeline at Stansted Airport. The case has shown once again that companies which plead that acts or omissions by their contractors were a factor in a pollution incident are unlikely to get a sympathetic hearing from the courts.

The incident occurred in February 1991 and was one of the worst spillages in the Thames region in recent years (ENDS Report 194, p 8). Thousands of gallons of kerosene leaked from a newly installed pipeline and flowed into the Tye Green brook, a tributary of the river Stort. The pollution spread miles downstream and killed ducks, swans and thousands of fish.

At a hearing before Chelmsford Crown Court in September, charges were brought by

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