Water pollution offences

A recent decision of the Divisional Court has highlighted a potentially important weakness in the wording of the key water pollution offence under Part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

Section 32 of the Act makes it an offence to discharge trade effluent into waters except in accordance with a consent granted by a water authority. Severn Trent Water Authority v Express Foods Group Ltd (Divisional Court, 19 October 1988, unreported) arose from three discharges of milk processing waste made by the defendants in breach of consent conditions.

More than one condition was broken on each discharge, and the authority all

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