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  • by Trevor Loveday

Environment watchdog okays South West £350,000 payout to offset pollution hit

The Environment Agency has accepted a voluntary £350,000 payment by South West Water to charity the Westcountry Rivers Trust after pollution by the water firm in 2016 killed more than 100 brown trout in a Devon river.

The so called Enforcement Undertaking payment, – an alternative to prosecution – will go to improvements to watercourses in the Plymouth area including the Tamerton stream where the fish deaths occurred.

The pollution came from an overflowing sewer manhole on South West Water’s sewer network. The dead fish were found downstream near Tamerton Foliot, close to where the stream enters the Tavy estuary. The estuary is a Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “It is good to see a positive outcome from what was serious pollution of a local stream. South West Water has since cleansed the main sewer line that runs through the woods and this should help reduce the likelihood of any further pollution.”

The Enforcement Undertaking offer will fund a programme of works known as the ‘Plymouth River Keepers Project that will help offset the damage caused by the water company.

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