Business fined for Tuddenham pollution

TWO businesses must pay almost £4,000 each after a metal tank stored at The Fountain pub in Tuddenham leaked 1,800 litres of oil into a nearby river.The incident happened December 2005 when the premises were lying empty through renovation work.

TWO businesses must pay almost £4,000 each after a metal tank stored at The Fountain pub in Tuddenham leaked 1,800 litres of oil into a nearby river.

The incident happened December 2005 when the premises were lying empty through renovation work.

The pub is owned by Burton Upon Trent-based Punch Taverns and had been leased to Scotts Ipswich Ltd, in Bury St Edmunds, days before.

Anne-lise McDonald, representing the Environment Agency, told magistrates' in Ipswich environmental officers attended the River Fynn at Tuddenham on December 23 after a member of the public reported seeing oil in the water.


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The officer discovered a significant amount of emulsified oil in the reeds and the “pungent” smell of oil.

On a further inspection on Boxing Day, the oil was traced to a “rusty” tank at the rear yard of the Fountain pub. A crack had caused a jet of oil to spill out on to the ground and into the river through a broken surface water pipe. A two kilometre stretch of the river was affected.

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Punch Taverns pleaded guilty to failing to store oil in compliance with regulations between November 23, 2005 and December 14, 2005. Magistrates fined the company £2,000 and ordered it to pay £1,900 costs.

Scotts Ipswich Ltd admitted causing polluting matter to enter controlled waters on December 24, 2005 and was also fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,900 costs.

The court heard Scotts had a survey carried out before taking on the lease, which identified the oil tank as needing replacement, but this was not done as it thought the landlords of the premises were responsible.

Punch Taverns was responsible for the oil tank between tenants and although it had dilapidation survey carried out, this had not covered the oil tank.

Andrew Riley, representing Scotts, said his client was extremely sorry for the incident. He said that Scotts believed the oil tank to be Punch Taverns' responsibility.

Dominic Connolly, representing Punch Taverns, said the company was unaware of the problem with the tank.

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