Dairy Crest fined £1.5m for ‘unacceptable’ environmental violations

A dairy producing several household products has been fined £1.5m following incidents of pollution. Dairy Crest Ltd.’s “unacceptable” environmental performance has released harmful chemicals into waterways, responsible for foul odors and leaking partially treated wastewater into watercourses.

And when she got things wrong she failed to tell the Environment Agency within 24 hours of the incident on seven separate occasions. On Thursday, the firm appeared for sentencing in True Crown Court after admitting to 12 of the 27 charges brought by the Environment Agency.

He was fined a record £1.52m during the hearing. It had already agreed to pay the cost of £272,747.

The court was told that Dairy Crest Limited, owned by Saputo Dairy UK, and the management of Davidstow Creamery near Camelford, North Cornwall, were falling short of the standards required by the Environment Agency on the Management of Liquid Waste, Odor and Environmental Reporting. ,

The court was told that since the site changed production to focus on processing whey, especially to produce the powder to be used in baby milk and other products, the wastewater discharged into the Inni River was treated as has become more challenging. This has resulted in unacceptable pollution of the local river, a tributary of the Tamar River, causing significant damage to fish and other aquatic wildlife. Another issue is that of foul smell which has often affected the lives of the local residents.

Sentencing, HHJ Simon Carr expressed the view that he had not seen evidence of consistent performance by the company over a five-year period. The judge identified a poor, middle management culture as a contributing factor to environmental damage that should have been dealt with much sooner by senior management.

He said it seemed like there was never a time without problems and that some of the people responsible for the wastewater treatment plant felt intimidated and unable to come forward. Judge Carr said he was “moved” by reading the testimony of residents whose lives were “disturbed” by the odours.

Offenses include:

  • The release of harmful biocide used to clean wastewater tanks and pipework into the river on 16 August 2016 and kills thousands of fish within a 2-km radius.
  • Coating the Ini River with a noxious, black sludge for 5 kilometers in 2018 through the release of a mass of suspended solids in July and August 2018.
  • From 2016 to 2021, continuously exceeding limits on substances such as phosphorus and suspended solids entering the Inni River.
  • Multiple seepages of partially treated effluents into nearby watercourses and on land.
  • The foul odor affecting the residents repeatedly for many years.
  • Failed to notify the Environment Agency within 24 hours when things had gone terribly wrong at the site on 7 separate occasions.

Environment Agency area director Helen Dobie said: “As a large and well-established operator, Dairy Crest Ltd. must be on the job of maintaining the required environmental standards. Instead, it failed over a period of several years. Have not been able to comply with their environmental permits and protect the local people and the environment.

“We acknowledge that Dairy Crest Ltd. is taking steps to address various problems, but unfortunately, these actions were not swift enough on several occasions and proved to be ineffective in curbing pollution.

“The Environmental Agency is deeply concerned about the environmental performance of this site and its impact on the environment. It will continue to monitor the situation and closely regulate this site and ask the operator to make the right decisions and level of investment on the site.” urges you to protect the wildlife and the people of Cornwall.”

Dairy Crest apologized in a statement today: It said: “Following a court hearing in September 2021 when Dairy Crest Ltd pleaded guilty to a crime for violation of its environmental permit at Davidstow Creamery in 2016, the company was brought to court today. to pay a fine of £1.52 million.

“Once again, the Company would like to express its sincere apologies to those affected. Much work has been done to rectify the historical issues relating to the prosecution. The Company continues to invest significant resources in the best technology, processes and people to further improve its environmental performance and reduce its impact on the local community.

“As the largest employer in North Cornwall, the company is committed to supporting our local communities and becoming a better neighbour.”

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