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Taylor Wimpey fined £480k for pollution

4 May 23 House-builder Taylor Wimpey has been fined nearly half a million pounds for pollution offences in Wales.

Taylor Wimpey failed to protect the River Llwyd from the impact of its building works
Taylor Wimpey failed to protect the River Llwyd from the impact of its building works

Taylor Wimpey was found guilty of a charge relating to breaches in Environmental Permitting Regulations at Cwmbran Magistrates Court yesterday (3rd May)

The prosecution followed the company’s failure to implement measures to prevent multiple pollution incidents that impacted the River Llwyd and its tributaries in Pontypool in 2021.

Multiple pollution offences caused by illegal water discharge activities occurred at the Edlogan Wharf site, along Bevan Road in Pontypool, between January and October 2021.

Inspections by officers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) revealed that the pollutant on each occasion was caused by water run-off from the site, which had been contaminated with silt.

NRW officers met on site with the representatives of Taylor Wimpey in February 2021 to discuss the necessary permit application requirements and mitigation measures that needed to be implemented to contain the risk of pollution.

Despite warning letters served to Taylor Wimpey on 23rd February and 13th May, over the following months there were a further six confirmed incidents and five unconfirmed incidents relating to pollution caused, or allegedly caused, by silty water discharging from the Edlogan Wharf development site.

During a follow-up visit on 29th October, water samples analysed by NRW officers revealed a significant increase in the levels of suspended solids in the watercourse.

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Natural Resources Wales environment officer Susan Lenthall said: “Environmental regulations are in place to help protect people, wildlife, our rivers, and land.

“The construction industry has a duty of care to the communities in which they operate, to ensure the correct controls and safeguards are in place in order to prevent incidents such as these occurring.

“In this case, Taylor Wimpey were made fully aware by NRW officers of the requirements that were needed to install effective silt mitigation methods, that permits were required for discharging treated surface water to a watercourse and that any discharge of contaminated water was an offence under Environmental Permitting Regulations.

“I hope this fine will send out a clear message that environmental legislation is to be taken seriously. We will not hesitate to take appropriate action against those who disregard regulations and jeopardise the natural environment we all know and love.”

Taylor Wimpey was fined £480,000 and ordered to pay £181 surcharge and £8,591.40 in costs, bringing the total fines to £488,772.40.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said after the hearing: “Despite our diligent efforts to prevent and remedy surface water issues, including proactive steps based on specialist advice from environmental experts, Taylor Wimpey recognises that these efforts were not sufficient to mitigate the impact of heavy rainfall and adverse weather conditions impacting the site. Whilst there is no evidence of actual harm having been caused, Taylor Wimpey expresses genuine regret for the potential environmental problems this issue could have caused.”

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