A GIANT utility firm has agreed to pay £20,000 in compensation six years after it caused a catastrophic pollution.
Yorkshire Water will finally give Walton Angling Club the money after killing prime carp and roach when raw sewage entered Walton Colliery Lake, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
The privatised firm, which made operating profits of £263.9m last year, had already been prosecuted by the Environment Agency and fined £600,000 at Leeds Crown Court in 2016, but all that money went straight to the Treasury.
In October 2013, a pipe rupture resulted in large quantities of raw sewage entering the lake and 860 dead fish were removed. But many more were either eaten by gulls or sank to the bottom of the deep lake.
A compensation claim was made by Fish Legal on behalf of Walton Angling Club following the criminal case.
Despite the club not being able to fish the venue for a couple of years, Yorkshire Water at first challenged it. After protracted negotiations, the utility finally agreed to pay the claim before court proceedings were issued.
Les Gray, secretary of Walton Angling Club, said: “It has been a long saga to get some kind of justice for the club for the five-year loss of one of our best waters.
“This was complicated by the unsuccessful restocking attempt by Yorkshire Water before the lake had sufficiently recovered from the 2013 sewage spill.
“However, we are very grateful for the dogged determination of Fish Legal and our own expert to set the record straight and obtain substantial compensation towards the club’s losses.”
Andrew Kelton, solicitor for Fish Legal, added: “This case was unusual.
“Although liability was straightforward, as Yorkshire Water had pleaded guilty in the criminal court, obtaining an adequate level of compensation was complicated by the 2016 re-stocking, which we effectively needed to prove had been unsuccessful.
“Nevertheless, we are happy that the club’s long wait for resolution of this issue has ultimately been worthwhile.”
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: “Protecting the environment is a priority for us, which is why we are deeply sorry about this incident.
“Following the incident, we invested over £1 million to replace the pipe that burst and caused the incident to occur.”
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