Anglian Water named and shamed

ANGLIAN Water Services has been identified as one of the country's biggest serial polluters in a report suggesting that an increase in prosecutions is failing to stop multi-million pound firms from committing environmental crimes.

ANGLIAN Water Services has been identified as one of the country's biggest serial polluters in a report suggesting that an increase in prosecutions is failing to stop multi-million pound firms from committing environmental crimes.

The company is included by the Environment Agency, the Government's pollution watchdog, in a list of "significant repeat offenders" for its record over the past five years.

It was fined £285,000 for 12 sewage pollution incidents last year and the five-year fines total is in excess of £420,000.

The company described the pollution incidents as "regrettable" but claimed its environmental performance was otherwise "exemplary".


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The report, Spotlight on Business Environmental Performance 2002, discloses that the water industry is responsible for serious pollution incidents each year.

Heavy fines, totalling nearly £1 million, the highest in any industrial sector were incurred by nine out of the ten regional water companies with Anglian having the third highest number of prosecutions and the second highest fines total.

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However, the report also reveals that there has been a 20% reduction in farm pollution incidents.

The list of "bad performers" in 2002 also includes Junckers Limited of Witham, fined £13,500 for failing to comply with packaging waste regulations.

The report warns that higher fines and an increase in prosecutions are failing to stop multi-million pound businesses from committing environmental crimes. Despite an increase of 13% in the number of prosecutions the average fine is just £8,744.

Identification of the "serial polluters" comes as the agency reports a 21% cut in serious pollution incidents caused by businesses as well as a drop in emissions of key pollutants.

Barbara Young, the Environment Agency's chief executive, said: "Courts are getting tougher on environmental offenders but fines are still small change for big business."

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: "Pollution events are regrettable and spoil an otherwise exemplary record in environmental improvement."

The company had spent £3 billion on environmental improvements since water industry privatisation and had achieved 99% compliance with routine discharges from its outfall pipes, she said.

It worked very hard to avoid pollution from any of its 4,600 sewage pumping stations and treatment works and 34,000 kilometres of sewage pipe.

"We have a policy of self-reporting any incidents to the Environment Agency and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure that high standards are maintained," the spokeswoman added.

John Woolmore , managing director of Junckers, said he believed it was " a little unfair" to be included on the bad performers list because the offence had been one of failing to register for the packaging regulations, as required by law.

"Many of our customers consider us to be one of the most environmentally conscious companies in Europe. We take our responsibilities seriously," he said.

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