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£14k pollution penalty for Staffordshire farm

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A Staffordshire farm has received a £14k pollution penalty following the pollution of the Gayton Brook where 3,000 fish perished.

The company plead guilty to three charges of breaching environmental regulations following two pollution incidents and failing to provide adequate effluent storage. The farm is located within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, meaning it must comply with strict slurry storage capacity. Environment Agency officers had advised the farm that there was insufficient storage capacity and that they were in breach of the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulation. A leak from the farm’s slurry pit also lead to the deaths of 3,000 fish in the Gayton Brook, while a second incident lead to the discolouration of the Wheatlow Brook.

The company was fined £7,000, and ordered to pay £7,100 costs and a victim surcharge of £120. In addition, the farm also paid £1k to the local wildlife trust and has spent over £20k on improvements and remediation at its site.

The Environment Agency officer leading the investigation said: "These were entirely preventable serious incidents, which led to pollution of farmland and watercourses in the area, resulting in the death of thousands of fish. The fact that the first incident was subsequently repeated gave us little choice but to pursue a prosecution."

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