Home Insulation Supplier Pays The Price for Oil Pollution

26th November 2010

Mark Group Limited of Leicester recently pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates Court to polluting the Barbourne Brook at Gheluvelt Park, Worcester.
The charges were brought by the Environment Agency for water pollution under the Water Resources Act.  The company was fined a total of 12,000 and ordered to pay costs of 5,563.53 plus a 15 victim surcharge. 
Mark Group Limited are a home insulation company who in November 2008 were closing down their depot at Northbrook Close in Barbourne.
For the Environment Agency, Sheila Abrahams told the court that on 14th November 2008 Environment Agency officers received calls about oil on the Barbourne Brook.  The source was traced to an outfall at Northbrook Close in Barbourne where officers discovered staining on the yard of Mark Group's premises and on the road, consistent with someone washing down oil into the drains.  They found three road gullies containing substantial amounts of oil.
The company claimed that their employees unwittingly passed a redundant oil tank to some individuals whom they presumed were from a company Mark Group had asked to pick up the tank.  The unidentified individuals dropped the tank whilst trying to load it on to a lorry, resulting in the oil spill.  There was no spill clean up equipment on site.
The oil flowed in to the Barbourne Brook, through Gheluvelt Park.  The pond at Gheluvelt Park is home to a pair of swans who were coated in oil.  The swans were successfully rescued and treated by Bishopswood Swan Rescue.  The pond at Gheluvelt Park is a popular spot for families to feed the ducks. 
In mitigation, the company apologised to the court for the incident and accepted responsibility for the offence. They said they had an unblemished record with no previous convictions since they started trading in 1974. The court gave them credit for an early guilty plea.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer involved in the investigation said, "This company failed to fulfil some pretty basic environmental responsibilities, resulting in the serious oiling of some wildfowl.  Companies who do not train or supervise their staff properly will be held to account for any pollution they cause.  If the company had made sure these oil tanks were properly handled this whole incident could have been avoided.  Companies are legally obliged to check that all wastes they produce are passed to a Registered Waste Carrier. They can check this on line at www.environment-agency.gov.uk."

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Article Last Updated 26th November 2010
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