Company given £15k sanction after contaminating an Aylesbury Vale brook

A company has accepted full responsibility for contaminating a brook in Aylesbury Vale through human error.

By James Lowson
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 12:59 pm

An Environment Agency investigation unveiled that AT Contracting and Plant Hire Limited allowed water contaminated with sediment to enter a tributary of Padbury Brook in May 2018.

The excavation company did not respond to multiple requests from The Bucks Herald to comment on the incident.

After the incident AT Contracting paid £15,000 to the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.

Padbury Brook

In this case the Environmental Agency imposed an Enforcement Undertaking.

This is used when the offence is found to be unintentional and the harm to the environment is limited.

In this case the Environment Agency accepted the company’s negligence was not down to dangerous or foolhardy behaviour.

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Another look at the contaminated brook

The Environment Agency was satisfied that AT Contracting had worked quickly to solve the issue and taken full responsibility for the incident.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Enforcement undertakings allow companies and individuals to make good some of the environmental damage they cause, including through a financial contribution to an environmental project. In addition to the £15,000 payment, the company completed a number of other actions including stopping the discharge, removing the pollutant from the watercourse and improving water management.”

Tougher sanctions can be handed out by the Environment Agency when organisations and individuals show high levels of culpability and serious environmental laws.

Andrew Raine, environment manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency is an outcome focussed regulator, seeking to make sure all businesses work within environmental laws.

“Human error on the part of AT Contracting led to the sediment being allowed to enter the river.

“Following the Environment Agency’s intervention, AT Contracting worked quickly to contain the incident. It has since worked to improve its water management systems to prevent this from happening again in the future.”

The Environment Agency advises people with concerns about pollution can contact the organisation on its 24-hour incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

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