Businesses breaching environmental laws paid £2.2m

The payments have been made to a total of 15 charities and projects across the UK

The Big Zero report

Picture of a stack of pound coins.

Businesses have paid more than £2.2 million to charities and projects for breaching environmental regulations.

The offences include pollution of rivers or the sea, not meeting permit conditions or not taking reasonable steps to recover packaging waste.

The Environment Agency said the payments to a total of 15 charities and projects – as part of enforcement undertakings agreed with the organisation – will be used for programmes that benefit the environment, including cleaning up and enhancing parks, rivers and beaches.

The latest list includes the Agency’s largest ever financial contribution of £975,000 offered by Wessex Water for an environmental offence involving sewage spills at Swanage in Dorset.

The funds will benefit Dorset Waste Partnership, Dorset Litter Free Coast and Sea Project, Purbeck District Council/Swanage Town Council and Durlston Country Park and Nature Reserve.

Others include United Utilities paying £232,000, Yorkshire Water paying £200,000, Northumbria Water paying £135,000, Carlsberg Supply Company paying £120,000, Tesco Distribution paying £100,000 and Angel Springs paying £24,329.

As well as making the payments, the companies have accepted liability, demonstrated restoration of harm and will make improvements to avoid future offences.

Peter Kellet, Director of Legal Services at the Environment Agency said: “When companies damage the environment, whether it is through polluting our waters or breaching permit conditions, we will take enforcement action against them, including civil sanctions.

“We take these environmental incidents very seriously and these payments of more than £2.2 million direct to charities will help them carry out vital projects to improve our environment right across England.”

Additional Information

The 14 other Enforcement Undertakings, with payments ranging from £5,000 – £232,000, include:

  • United Utilities Water Limited – £232,000 benefitting Mersey Rivers Trust (£90,000) and Community Forest Trust (£142,000) for discharging sewage into a brook
  • Yorkshire Water Services Limited – £200,000 benefitting Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for polluting a river.
  • Northumbrian Water Limited – £135,000 benefitting Durham Wildlife Trust (£45,000), Wear Rivers Trust (£45,000), Marine Conservation Society (£45,000) for polluting a stream.
  • Carlsberg Supply Company UK Limited – £120,000 benefitting the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire (£80,000) and River Nene Regional Park Community Interest Company (£40,000) for polluting a river.
  • Tesco Distribution Limited – £100,000 benefitting Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for discharging diesel into a watercourse and ponds.
  • Angel Springs Holdings Limited – £24,329 benefitting Marine Conservation Society for not taking reasonable steps to recover and recycle packaging waste.

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