Burnley firm fined £10,000 for polluting River Brun

Dead fish discovered in River Brun that runs through the town centre. G101111/4b

Dead fish discovered in River Brun that runs through the town centre. G101111/4b

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A BURNLEY firm has been fined £10,000 after a pollution incident which killed scores of fish in the River Brun.

RS Plating was hit with the big fine at a hearing at Pennine Magistrates’ Court after the chemical spill which wiped out more than 200 fish last November.

Dead fish discovered in River Brun that runs through the town centre. G101111/4c

Dead fish discovered in River Brun that runs through the town centre. G101111/4c

The chromium plating firm, based in Widow Hall Road, was also ordered to pay £4,000 costs over the serious spillage following a prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Reports were received of dead and dying fish in the River Brun through Thompson Park and in Burnley town centre on November 9th and 10th last year.

Environment Agency officers carrying out investigations found 30 dead trout, along with numerous other species such as minnows, bullheads and stone loaches.

The incident was traced to a small tributary of the River Brun at Heasandford Allotments off Netherwood Road.

A director of the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust, who visited the River Brun to tend to a newly-installed fish pass at the River Brun and Calder confluence, reported spotting around 100 dead fish at various locations through Burnley town centre.

An Environment Agency Fisheries Officer identified a further 49 dead trout, as well as hundreds of minor species in the River Brun.

Approximately 100 litres of sodium hypochlorite was found to have escaped from a container at the premises of RS Plating at Heasandford Industrial Estate and through drains into the river.

Environment Agency officials said there were “inadequate prevention measures” in place and said the company’s response to the spillage was to flush it in to the drains without contacting the agency for advice.

The water discharge activity was classed as a Category 1 “serious” incident because of the impact to fish and invertebrates

Although the company cooperated with the Environment Agency’s initial investigation, they declined to attend for interview and were not in court where they were convicted in their abscence.

Steve Molyneux, Environment Agency Environment Manager, said: “We are happy with the outcome of this court case, which sends out a clear message that those responsible for polluting our waterways will be prosecuted for their irresponsible actions.”

Jack Spees, Ribble Rivers Trust Director, said: “The River Brun is a real asset for the community and we welcome the actions of the Environment Agency. We are currently working on our Urban Rivers Enhancement Scheme (URES) for Burnley and this result helps emphasise that people must take great care not to pollute our waterways.”

Anyone who identifies pollution can contact the Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.