British Steel Case Warns of Bigger Penalties for Water Pollution Incidents

A fine of £200,000 imposed on British Steel at the end of July for a water pollution offence was accompanied by a stiff warning to polluters from Cardiff Crown Court. Substantial fines may face companies which allow polluting releases to the environment even when the full potential for environmental damage is not realised.

National Rivers Authority v British Steel plc (Cardiff Crown Court, 31 July) Followed a leak of fuel oil from the company's steel works at Llanwern, near Newport, on 11 February. About 20 tonnes of oil escaped into the Severn estuary (ENDS Report 193, pp 3-4).

The company pleaded guilty to a charge under section 107(1)(a) of the Water Act 1989 of allowing polluting matter to enter controlled waters. But it succeeded with a not guilty

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