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Rossendale firm's £30k fine after swans left covered in oil
4:23pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
A FIRM from Rossendale has been fined £30,000 for a pollution incident that left swans covered in heating oil and diesel.
Phoenix Demolition, based in Rawtenstall, was prosecuted by the Environment Agency over the pollution incident in the River Roach in Rochdale.
An investigation found the oil had come from a boiler tank at a depot more than a mile away.
The Environment Agency said the oil had leaked after work by Phoenix Demolition to demolish the roof of the boiler house had meant concrete hit a valve on the oil tank inside. The chemicals then flowed into the waters of one of the river’s tributaries, Sudden Brook, via some surface water drains.
Three swans had to be rescued by the RSPCA after the leak was discovered 24 hours later and the spill is also thought to have caused lasting damage to the river’s wildlife population. Phoenix Demolition pleaded guilty to causing a discharge activity contrary to environmental regulations at an earlier hearing.
The company was given an £8,000 fine and was ordered to pay £23,400 in costs at a sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court.
Judge Philip Lakin said the incident could have been avoided if proper checks had been carried out following the demolition work.
Defending, Simon Batiste, said the mishap was due to the difficulty of the job, which required workmen to demolish the roof of the boiler house to gain access to the oil tank.
The Environment Agency spent two days clearing the area after the spillage, which affected more than five kilometres of the river.
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