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Good environmental risk management makes good business sense! Prevention of water pollution should be a key part of risk assessment for all businesses located to or carrying out work projects near to, under or over water courses.

It is estimated that to date, the oil pollution incident in the Gulf of Mexico has cost BP $8 billion!

For land based businesses, failing to prevent polluting matter entering a watercourse can be an extremely expensive business. Whether matter pollutes water is a question of fact and degree and it is not necessary to show actual harm. The likelihood or capability of harm being caused to animal or plant life is enough. Liability is strict. Intent or negligence do not need to be proved for a conviction to take place.

Numerous companies and individuals are prosecuted each year by the Environment Agency under section 85 (1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 or Regulation 12 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales Regulations) 2010 for offences occurring after 6 April 2010.

David Egan

Yorkshire & North East: Paul Haycock