Two farmers have pleaded guilty to polluting a river following the collapse of a slurry store which led to the release of approximately 75,000 gallons of slurry into the water.
Dewi and Barry Jones of Glanperis Farm appeared before Aberystwyth Magistrates Court on December 14th, 2021.
The incident – which took place in June 2020 – impacted the Afon Peris, which flows through the village of Llanon.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) investigated the matter and prosecuted the farmers.
The court heard that the cause was the “catastrophic failure” of a 40-year-old slurry store that had “never received formal maintenance and assessment”.
The Jones pleaded guilty to water pollution charges under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 and the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
Following sentencing guidelines, Aberystwyth Magistrates Court fined Barry a combined amount of £1,332. Furthermore, the judge ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £133.
On the other hand, the judge fined Dewi a combined amount of £1,136 and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £113.
The judge ordered both defendants to pay NRW’s full costs of bringing the prosecution forward, a cost of £12,467.90 to be paid between them equally.
Foreseeable and avoidable
Dr Carol Fielding, NRW’s Ceredigion Environment Team Leader, said the incident had a “devastating” impact on aquatic life in the Afon Peris.
“Assessing the number of dead fish was often impossible. The extent of the pollution made the water too thick to see through.”
“I am pleased that we were able to thoroughly investigate and hold those responsible to account.
Furthermore, she said the incident was “foreseeable, avoidable and should never have happened”.
“It shows the importance of regular and proper maintenance of slurry stores,” she concluded.
Run-off from farmyard manure heap costs farmers over €40k
A judge has ordered a farm business – specialist cheese producers – to pay £37,184 for water pollution.
Somerset farm business, Alvis Brothers Ltd, of Lye Cross Farm, Redhill, appeared before Bristol Magistrates Court on December 2nd, 2021.
They pleaded guilty to two pollution offences that occurred three years ago.
The court heard they have a” long history of environmental offending”. The Environment Agency previously issued formal caution and warning letters.
Lye Cross Farm supplies cheese to supermarkets, including Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury. Furthermore, it exports to more than 40 countries worldwide.
Read more about this court case.