Thames Water has been ordered to pay nearly £14,000 for discharging sewage into the Pymmes Brook, killing more than 100 fish.
The urban brook in East Barnet supports a stock of fish and other aquatic life as well as serving as a popular local amenity, particularly in the Oak Hill Park area.
Barnet Magistrates’ Court imposed a fine of £12,000 and ordered the company to pay £1,911.90 costs yesterday.
On 11 April 2005 Environment Agency officers were called to Brookside, East Barnet, after members of the public reported sewage in the brook. The source of the sewage was quickly traced to an outfall in Church Hill Road.
The court heard that a blocked drain had caused foul sewage to overflow into a surface water drain that discharges into the Pymmes Brook via a storm outfall.
The main species of fish affected by the pollution were roach, sticklebacks and crucian carp.
Investigating officer Chris Ford said: “We contacted Thames Water who sent a recovery team to clean up the area. They also discovered a blocked drain, which had caused foul sewage to overflow into a surface water drain which discharges to the Pymmes Brook via a storm outfall.
“This was a serious incident which will have killed the majority of the fish life in that stretch of the brook.
“When we first arrived at the brook we found around 50 fish dead or dying in the water. The pollution had caused oxygen levels to plummet and our officers couldn’t see a single healthy fish for a mile downstream of the affected outfall.”