Ribchester cafe owner fined £9k for polluting brook

Raw sewage from a cafe, nursery and several shops was being dumped into an open ditch and contaminating a watercourse, a court heard.

The pollution was caused in the watercourse, which is a tributary of Stydd Brook.
The pollution was caused in the watercourse, which is a tributary of Stydd Brook.

Stephen Fullalove, of Stoneygate Lane, Ribchester, appeared before Blackburn Magistrates on Tuesday (May 14th) in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

The court heard sewage from a café, nursery and several retail huts at Stydd Gardens was being discharged to an overloaded package sewage treatment system, which provided little or no wastewater treatment.

The waste from the treatment plant was then being discharged, without a permit, to an open ditch at the rear of the site, causing pollution in the watercourse, which is a tributary of Stydd Brook.

Despite the EA, who began investigations following a complaint in February 2015, offering advice on numerous occasions and the serving of an "Anti-Pollution Works Notice" the situation continued and on May 16th, 2018, the EA carried out works to prevent further discharges to the watercourse.

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    Fullalove pleaded guilty to three offences of causing a water discharge activity at Stydd Gardens, Stoneygate Lane. He also pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to comply with a works notice served by the Environment Agency. He was fined a total of £3,550 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000 and a victim surcharge of £125.

    The court heard on June 4th, 2018, the site, which at that time was operated by The Café at Stydd Gardens Limited, of which Mr Fullalove was the director, installed a new drainage system and connection to foul sewer.

    Area Environment Manager, John Neville from the EA, said: “This offending occurred over an extended period of time and without any interim measures being put in place to prevent the pollution while the permanent solution was sought. This case demonstrates how seriously the Environment Agency considers water pollution offences and that we will take action against individuals and businesses who cause such pollution.

    “The Environment Agency will persist with individuals who continue to ignore our advice as pollution incidents can cause distress to local communities, reduce water quality and spoil ecosystems. We would urge anyone who notices pollution to land or water to call our hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”