ANGLER’S MAIL can reveal that the Environment Agency has collected a whopping £1.31 million to give to environmental charities from rogue businesses in just the past six months alone.
The EA released the figures behind how polluters have to stump up for damage.
They show that 25 enforcement undertakings were carried out. These allowed firms to pay-up directly to local environmental charities rather than go to court for any pollution offences that they commit.
Court fines from polluters go straight into the Treasury, so don’t help the EA or local environment.
The biggest payment was £264,000, to the Eden Rivers Trust, in Cumbria, by United Utilities Water Limited.
It paid the huge amount and EA investigation costs after admitting discharging effluent into the River Eden.
The Trust also got a further £30,000 from AW Jenkinson Forest Products, £4,500 from AJ Forster Limited and £2,150 from Seat Hill Limited.
ERT chief executive Elizabeth Radford said: “We are grateful for the monies received from the polluters of the Eden, which helps support our work to protect and conserve the rivers, tributaries and lakes of this catchment.”
An EA spokesperson said: “Enforcement undertakings allow polluters to positively address and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents.
“When appropriate, they can offer quicker and more directly beneficial resolution than a court prosecution, and help offenders that are prepared to take responsibility for their actions to voluntarily make things right, working with their local communities.
“We will continue to seek prosecutions against those that cause the most severe pollution or that act deliberately or recklessly.”
River campaigner and former barbel record holder Ray Walton (pictured above) believes that the EA should still prosecute the worst pollution cases in court.
Ray told Angler’s Mail: “Enforcement undertakings are okay for minor offences and for first-time pollutions for small firms, but the repeated polluting that goes on by big, rich firms, such as water companies, should really be dealt with in court.
“At the moment, the directors of these water companies are just given a smack on the wrist, but they need really big fines for them to take notice and put in the infrastructure to stop them happening in the first place.
“Repeatedly bad offenders should be given jail sentences.”
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