Record fine 'dramatically changes the landscape' for breaches of environmental law

Thames Water has been fined a record £19.75m and must pay costs of more than £611,000 for polluting the River Thames on several occasions over a 20-month period. 

Aylesbury Crown Court was told that more than 1.4 billion litres of untreated sewage were discharged into the river and its tributaries from the company’s water treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and its pumping station at Littlemore during 2012 and 2014. 

The pollution, which the Environment Agency described as widespread, repeated and sustained, caused serious damage to wildlife over 14km, killing birds, fish and invertebrates.

The agency prosecuted the company for six pollution offences. The regulator said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case in its 20-year history. Its investigations revealed that managers had disregarded risks identified by their own staff and had ...

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