Yorkshire Water agrees £400,000 payout after poisoning Wakefield watercourse

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Yorkshire Water agreed to make a £400,000 donation after poisoning a Wakefield watercourse.

Following an investigation by the Environment Agency, the company was found to have breached its environmental permit with two unauthorised sewage discharges from a rising main at Hemsworth Water Park, Hoyle Mill Lane Sewage Pumping Station, causing pollution at Hoyle Mill Stream at Wakefield in 2020.

They also breached its environmental permit with an unauthorised sewage discharge that polluted a beck in York.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It submitted two Enforcement Undertakings to the Environment Agency, which have now been accepted - £150,000 for the York incident and £250,000 for Hoyle Mill Stream.

Yorkshire Water agreed a £400,000 payoutYorkshire Water agreed a £400,000 payout
Yorkshire Water agreed a £400,000 payout

An Enforcement Undertaking is a voluntary offer made by companies and individuals to make amends for their offending, and usually includes a donation to a wildlife charity to carry out environmental improvements in the local area.

At Hoyle Mill Road Sewage Pumping Station a rising main burst in July 2020, discharging raw sewage into Hoyle Mill Stream, visibly polluting the beck for 2.75km and having a detrimental impact on water quality.

In August that year, a repair that had been made to the rising main failed and more raw sewage was discharged into the beck.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Further investigation revealed the pipe was severely corroded and the repair was not sufficient to sustain the pressure. As part of the Enforcement Undertaking, Yorkshire Water replaced the whole rising main at the end of last year.

Martin Christmas, Environment Agency Area Environment Manager, said: "We are holding water companies to account like never before and while we will always take forward prosecutions in the most serious cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements.

“They allow polluters to correct and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents by improving their procedures, helping ensure future compliance with environmental requirements.”

As well as donations totalling £400,000 to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Water says it has made significant improvements to its monitoring system and completed repairs to its assets as part of the civil sanction.

Water companies were handed record fines last year totalling more than £100 million following Environment Agency prosecutions, making clear that polluters will pay for damage to the environment.