Northumbrian Water has agreed a combined payment of over £1m to compensate for historic environmental offences.
The company agreed the payment with the Environment Agency. The funds will be spread across four North East locations.
Five separate Enforcement Undertakings (EU) were agreed with Northumbrian Water Limited after the company accepted responsibility for environmental offences in County Durham (West Cornforth, Crook Beck and Chilton) and Marske-by-the-Sea (Longbeck – two offences).
The acceptance of an EU offer is often a direct alternative to prosecution, in cases where the environmental impact was localised, and where the Environment Agency is satisfied that the offence wasn’t intentional.
The Environment Agency expects financial contributions to go towards environmentally focussed work located in and around the geographical area where the offences occurred.
The projects to receive donated sums include:
Chilton Primary Friends £5,000
Durham Wildlife Trust £145,000
Groundwork North East £50,000
Industry Nature Conservation Association £50,500
Marine Conservation Society £188,000
North East Environment Network £80,000
Tees Rivers Trust £253,000
Tees Valley Wildlife Trust £308,000
The Tweed Forum £15,000
Wear Rivers Trust £85,000
Fiona Morris, Environment Planning and Engagement Manager with the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “We feel Enforcement Undertakings are a more balanced response to dealing with these environmental offences. The outcome is beneficial to the environment relevant to where the offence took place. It will also help to change the behaviour of the company and focus on their activities. This approach achieves more than if the company in question had been convicted and fined.
“In these cases, Northumbrian Water Limited has taken action to rectify the situation and the environment will now benefit from some great work by local charities.
“We work hard to protect people and the environment, and a clear regulatory framework with agreed standards and targets has helped to drive major environmental improvements throughout the region.”