This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by news editor Thomas Petch, looking at tougher fines for pollution of rivers, after Thames Water were fined £250,000... for killing insects!
IT WAS a great pleasure to write up a news story this week for this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine about Thames Water being fined a huge £250,000 for a relatively small pollution.
The huge penalty reflects new legal laws on rich firms and Thames Water were also ordered to pay costs of £6,887 for polluting the Chase Brook in Newbury, Berkshire, with untreated sewage in a small 600 metre stretch of mostly invertebrate-filled water.
Thames Waters profit for the year ending 31 March 2014 was £346.7 million. The message is clear and the level of fines ordered reflects proportionately with the financial circumstances of the defendant.
Thames Anglers’ Conservancy chairman Dave Harvey told me: “It is only a small tributary but this fine is a very significant event. It was about the same time as they polluted the Dollis Hill brook and had issues on the Blackwater.”
During sentencing Judge, Mrs Recorder Arbuthnot, said: “The parties agree that the level of culpability is negligence and with which I agree. With regards to harm I find that this is a Category 3 offence but at the severe end.”
I found out a big company theoretically could be fined up to £3 million pounds under new rules for a major fish kill if it was a Category 1 offence where they were totally at fault.
And I hope the next time there is a really big fish kill then any big firm liable will have to pay this maximum as courts have been far too lenient in the past.
I’ve always argued if a firm killed ten of thousands of birds or rabbits then there would be a national outcry but because slimy fish are not cute of even thought about by the general public and main media, then zilch has been done before.
Hopefully when big firms start getting big fines they’ll really crack down on stopping future pollutions.
Even if they don’t they be hit hard where it hurts them most – in their pockets!