Earlston farmer and dairy farm company fined for pollution incident

date16 August 2016

Farmer Alexander Wilson was fined £1000 and his company R & A Wilson Limited was fined £1,650 at Selkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (15 August 2016) for discharging dilute slurry and silage effluent into an unnamed tributary to the Clackmae Burn, into the Clackmae Burn and into the Leader Water, near Earlston.

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Mr Wilson and his company, which operates Clackmae Farm, pled guilty to failing to correctly manage silage and slurry infrastructure at the site between 24 December 2014 and 22 January 2015 which resulted in pollution of the water environment.  

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) was alerted to a pollution event in the Clackmae Burn  at the confluence with the Leader Water. SEPA officers traced the pollution upstream to the farm.

SEPA identified that due to Mr Wilson’s failure to check that the silage and slurry drainage system was working correctly, dilute slurry and silage effluent was discharged to the waterbodies. SEPA reported the matter to the Procurator Fiscal.

Angela Foss, Borders Unit Manager for SEPA, said:

Due to Mr Wilson and his company R & A Wilson Limited’s inactions, dilute slurry and silage effluent was discharged from Clackmae Farm and resulted in significant environmental damage.

“This incident had an adverse impact on the quality of the water environment and the health of living organisms in addition to interfering with the quality of aquatic ecosystems.

“Mr Wilson and his company’s failure to take their environmental responsibilities seriously caused pollution over a distance of 300 metres from Clackmae Farm to the confluence with the Leader Water. It is our view that this incident was unacceptable and completely avoidable.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The exact charge R & A Wilson and Alexander Wilson pled guilty to was:

(001)    between 24th December 2014 and 22nd January 2015 both dates inclusive at Clackmae Farm, Earlston, Berwickshire you RAND A WILSON LIMITED AND ALEXANDER WILSON did carry on a controlled activity, namely an activity liable to cause pollution of the water environment in that a) you did store silage effluent and slurry effluent b) and failed to maintain and manage silage and slurry infrastructure in a manner which c) did cause mixed dilute slurry and silage effluent to be discharged from a slurry lagoon into an unnamed tributary to the Clackmae Bum, the Clackmae Burn and the Leader Water, near Earltson, causing pollution without an authorisation under the aftermentioned Regulations; CONTRARY to the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 Regulation 4 and 44(1)(a) and the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 Section 20(3)(a) And the foregoing offence was committed with the consent or connivance of, or was attributable to the neglect of you, ALEXANDER WILSON, being a director and manager or similar officer of the said company, or person purporting to act in such a capacity and being a person to whom regulation 45(1) of the aforementioned regulations applies.