A housebuilder and its contracted engineer will donate £135,000 to the Aire Rivers Trust after polluting Pitty Beck river multiple times while building a housing estate near Bradford.
Keepmoat Homes will donate £100,000, while Applebridge Construction, which was contracted by Keepmoat for the first phase of the development, will donate £35,000.
The Environment Agency found that Pitty Beck was polluted a number of times between October 2016 and November 2018 during construction.
The companies submitted Enforcement Undertakings to the Environment Agency, which have now been accepted.
An Enforcement Undertaking is a voluntary offer to make amends for offences, and usually includes a donation to a wildlife charity to carry out environmental improvements in the local area.
Environment Agency investigation
On 13 October 2016, Keepmoat Homes reported pollution from its site. An Environment Agency officer confirmed that silty water was running from the site into the river.
This happened on numerous occasions over subsequent months. The company did not have an environmental permit to allow for treated water to be discharged into the beck.
The company obtained this permit in October 2017. This allowed the discharge of water from one outlet at a maximum rate of no more than 40mg/l of suspended solids.
Only days later, a discharge containing 555mg/l entered the beck from a different outlet. This was followed by the first of several permit breaches from the permitted outlet containing more than the allowed concentration of suspended solids.
As part of the requirements of the Enforcement Undertaking, Keepmoat Homes revised its surface water management plan for the site, constructed urban drainage ponds, purchased a siltbuster and gulley bags to remove sediment from the water leaving site, and improved its inspection and monitoring regime.
Applebridge Construction employed a full-time health and safety manager, reviewed and updated its environmental management system and delivered bespoke training to staff.
Environment Agency area environment manager Ben Hocking said: “Housing construction companies, like all companies carrying out any major development work, have a responsibility to ensure their work does not impact on the environment and we will take action when pollution occurs.”
Aire Rivers Trust will use the donations for the monitoring and prevention of pollution on Bradford Beck, a ‘pocket park’ proposal at Bradford Beck, and restoring habitats in the catchment, including some wetlands at Pitty Beck.
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