The Environment Agency has prosecuted Watson Dairies for the third time since 2002. The latest offence was a diesel leak from Hawksnest Farm into a tributary of the River Meon in Hampshire.
In their third water quality pollution offence, Watson Dairies Limited appeared before Fareham Magistrates on Wednesday 3 January 2007 and pleaded guilty to the offence. The company was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1295 to the Environment Agency.
On 21 April 2006, whilst visiting the site on other matters, Environment Agency officers discovered a ditch at the diary contained red diesel. The company were unaware that the ‘bund’, a secondary containment system, fitted to their diesel pumps to prevent diesel escaping had been compromised by a hairline crack.
The diesel leak caused contamination of a tributary of the River Meon. This is a high quality river that is home to numerous fish populations, including the protected Bullhead and Brook Lamprey as well as migrating Sea Trout and juvenile Trout which are particularly sensitive to poor water quality.
Paul Salmon, the Environment Agency Officer who investigated the oil leak said: “This case is a warning to anyone who stores oil on the importance of regularly checking and maintaining tanks and their secondary containment systems.
“Leaking oil can have a devastating impact on the Environment. If the Environment Agency had not been coincidentally on site at the time of the incident the situation could have been far worse and a large quantity of oil could have reached the Meon.”
Watsons Dairies limited were responsible and proactive in their reaction to the incident and followed advice from the Environment Agency spending over £25,000 on clean up costs.