Polluter served ‘notice of liability’
The Environment Agency has served a ‘notice of liability’ on Omex Agriculture Ltd following a pollution incident that resulted in at least 100,000 fish being killed.
The agricultural and fertiliser company was responsible for what has been described as the worst river pollution ever recorded in Lincolnshire, when ammonia entered the River Witham in March last year.
The notice was served under the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2015 and is only the second the Agency has issued since the Regulations came into place. Under the notice, Omex Agriculture is required to develop plans for repairing the environmental damage caused to the river.
The ammonia affected the river from Bardney to the Wash and severely impacted its condition and ecosystems. ManFai Tang, environment manager at the Agency, commented: “We know the pollution had a devastating effect on delicate river ecosystems, and issuing this notice means the process of helping the river recover to its natural, healthy state can start sooner.
“It’s one way we’re working to protect and improve our environment for local people and wildlife. We look forward to receiving proposals from Omex for review, and working with it to restore the Witham.”
Environment Agency experts and biologists worked with other organisations following the incident in order to clean up and mitigate the damage. Fisheries teams have since restocked the river with 1.5m fish larvae, including bream, roach and tench. They have also re-introduced roach and bream between 30 to 40mm long.
The Agency is continuing to investigate the circumstances of the pollution, and may yet take separate action under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2016.