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Scunthorpe transport company fined for polluting Bottesford Beck

“We expect all companies who store oil to do so responsibly in accordance with the regulations

On Wednesday 22 May 2013, Westram Limited pleaded guilty at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court to charges relating to the pollution of a tributary of the Bottesford Beck and the uncontrolled storage of oil.

The Charges:
1. On or before 14 January 2011 Westram Limited caused a water discharge activity, namely a discharge of diesel, into a tributary of Bottesford Beck, except under and to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and Regulation 12(1)(b) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

2. Further, on or before 14 January 2011 Westram Limited being a person who had custody or control of oil at Raventhorpe Lodge, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, did store oil in containers, namely the green metal tank, which was not situated within a secondary containment system which satisfied the requirements of Regulation 3(2), contrary to Regulation 3(2) and 9 of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.

3. Further, on or before 14 January 2011 Westram Limited being a person who had custody or control of oil at Raventhorpe Lodge, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe contravened the requirements of Regulation 4(3)(a) of Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 in that pipe work positioned on a fixed tank, namely the green metal tank, was not properly supported so as to minimise any risk of damage by impact, contrary to Regulations 4(3)(a) and 9 of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.

4. Further, on or before 14 January 2011 Westram Limited contravened the requirements of Regulation 4 (6)(c) of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage)(England) Regulations 2001 in that the flexible pipe which was permanently attached to a container, namely the green metal tank at Raventhorpe Lodge, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, was not enclosed in a secure cabinet which is locked shut when not in use and is equipped with a drip tray or the pipe did not have a lockable valve which is locked when not in use and kept within a secondary containment system when not in use, contrary to Regulations 4(6)(c) and 9 of the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.
The transport company, based at the time at Raventhorpe Lodge, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe, was ordered to pay a £23,000 fine and £5,300 in costs.

Westram Limited was charged by the Environment Agency for one offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010 for discharging diesel oil into a tributary of the Bottesford Beck, and for three further offences under the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001.

The court heard that on 13 January 2011 a member of the public was walking his dogs alongside the Bottesford Beck, and noticed a strong smell of diesel. The following day, he and another member of the public noticed an oil slick had covered the surface of the water and a strong diesel smell was still present. With concern for the wildlife in the area, both individuals and several others reported the matter.

The Environment Agency responded to the incident, took water samples from the tributary and the Bottesford Beck confirming that oil was present, and deployed oil absorbent booms to prevent further spread of the pollution. The investigation established that oil had discharged from a tank on site, and had entered a tributary of the Bottesford Beck via a surface water drainage pipe. There was significant loss of oil to this watercourse which ultimately drains into the Bottesford Beck. Oil was seen on the Bottesford Beck for up to four kilometres downstream.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency Officer said:
“We expect all companies who store oil to do so responsibly in accordance with the regulations, and to have effective spill response procedures in place to minimise any environmental risk. Had these steps been carried out in this case, the pollution and resulting prosecution could have been avoided. We are always available to provide free advice regarding pollution prevention and environmental responsibilities.”
In mitigation, the court was told that the company had entered an early guilty plea and took action, through contractors, to remediate the oil pollution in the beck after the spill.

If you spot pollution in a river please call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807060.