Prosecution highlights confusion, loopholes in water pollution law

Confusing official advice about how compliance by the water authorities with their discharge consents is to be assessed, and a loophole in information disclosure regulations which enables them to escape prosecution for pollution, were highlighted this month during proceedings brought against the North West Water Authority (NWWA) by Derbyshire County Council.

The case is the first involving action against a water authority by another public body. Since public registers of effluent samples were opened in 1985, two authorities - Thames and Anglian - have been prosecuted successfully by the Anglers Cooperative Association for exceeding their discharge consents.

The case concluded this month concerned an alleged four offences by NWWA's sewage works at Whaley Bridge, which discharges into the river

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