On 19 March 2007 Simon Brown (60) of Poplars Farm, Brockton, Much Wenlock pleaded guilty at Telford Magistrates Court to a charge relating to pollution of the River Corve.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Water Resources Act (1991). Simon Brown was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.
Mr Brown had previously agreed to pay the Environment Agency’s Investigative costs of £4,312 under the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’.

For the Environment Agency, Jill Robson told the court that Simon Brown is one of four partners trading as E G Brown and Sons, and that he has overall responsibility for the management of the farm and owns most of the land at Poplars Farm, Brockton.

On 6 February 2006, an Environment Agency officer visited the River Corve at Shipton after receiving reports that the river smelt of slurry and had a brown discolouration.

The next day two officers went back and found dead fish in the River Corve near Poplars Farm. A trail of dead invertebrates led to a ditch near the slurry lagoon at the farm. Here officers inspected the site further and took photographs and samples of the water.

Analysis on the samples showed that a slurry leak from Poplars Farm had caused pollution on the River Corve downstream of the farm. In an interview Mr Brown admitted that a slurry leak on 5 February 2006 from the lagoon on the farm, could have got into the river via a land drain

Speaking after the case, Adam Shipp, an Environment Agency officer involved in the investigation said: “Slurry and manure are very polluting to the water environment. They cause oxygen to be removed from the water and they contain ammonia, which is very toxic to fish. On this occasion fish and invertebrates died as a result of the slurry pollution from Poplars Farm. In the light of this serious incident we would ask farmers to inspect any lagoons or stores for leaks and when they are spreading slurry to check land drains, streams or brooks for any signs of contamination”.

” If you do suspect slurry, or other pollutants, may have entered a watercourse, please contact the Environment Agency as soon as possible on 0800 807060 as we may be able to reduce its impact on the environment.”