Two recent press releases from The Environment agency offer a very contradictory response to issues of water pollution and subsequent prosecution of those responsible.
My dealings and experiences with this government quango, have shall we say over a considerable period of time been less than impressive to put it very politely. In fact you could say I find them about as useful and popular as a hard backed copy of The Da Vinci Code in an Oxfam shop.
Previous gems relating to the notorious chemical dump at rattlechain lagoon involved one “pollution/prevention control” officer telling me that phosphorus wasn’t toxic- as “I’m a scientist, I did A level chemistry” – (not appearing to know the difference between elemental white phosphorus and total phosphorus!) His line manager added that phosphine was “marsh gas” ,whilst adding that his major at university had been zoology. 😯
Time and time again as a wildfowl bird rescuer I have dutifully rang the 0800 807060 incident number to report chemical pollution of watercourses, in an effort to try to prevent and save birds from being affected by the contaminants, whereby you would hope that timely intervention would prevent such incidents, and also save volunteers and charities the task of having to deal with a situation of rescuing them at a later date. Time and time again, I have been let down, and so have the birds.
One example concerned the firm Masefield Epson Limited in Tipton. Their environmental release onto a canal was one of the few that I have reported that the EA actually traced, but the recording of the fact that a family of swans apart from the surviving female was wiped out by their chemicals was not in the prosecution.
The EA really only appear to care about fish deaths- it’s where they make their money from rod licence sales, but you’d hope that their thinking wouldn’t be so shallow. Unfortunately it is.
The first press report quotes chair of the EA, Emma Howard Boyd and details the annual state of water report from the EA which they published at the same time. I will look at this in more detail below, but the quote from Ms Boyd is what you would want to see from an organisation claiming to want to be “creating a better place”. You would hope that this place would be one where polluting companies- especially multi million pound for profit water companies were punished every time for environmental pollution that they caused.
“Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:
“Water quality is better than at any time since the Industrial Revolution thanks to tougher regulation and years of hard work by the Environment Agency and others.
But there are still far too many serious pollution incidents which damage the local environment, threaten wildlife and, in the worst cases, put the public at risk.
I would like to see fines made proportionate to the turnover of the company and for the courts to apply these penalties consistently. Anything less is no deterrent.” “
The second press release therefore comes across as being rather odd in relation to the above line. This concerns the Environment agency effectively removing themselves and the polluter from the court system, and instead introducing an “Environmental undertaking” scheme, whereby the polluter can offer up some cash to restore the environmental damage which they created.
Personally I have great problems with this, particularly when the polluter has a dire environmental record, and can be seen to be somehow getting good PR for themselves by bunging gratefully receiving “charities” with a few quid. “The polluter pays principle” may be being met, but the way in which it is decided , and by whom in the EA gives cause for concern. Who decides to prosecute, and on what basis? Who decides which charities benefit, and are the top table charities the only ones likely to ever receive any money?
This article reports that the polluter United utilities, a water company paying “£155,000 in charitable donations”. The EUs were offered to the Environment Agency after the company admitted causing sewage to pollute two watercourses in the summer of 2016.
I have no idea how the ramblers association connect themselves with water pollution , or how they make the EA approved charitable list, if there even is one. It concerns me that some charities here will be more equal than others in terms of receiving cash- particularly the more established well known ones, or how are we to know what connections the polluters have with these charities, or even the EA officials making the decisions?
United Utilities to put it mildly and if you’ll excuse the pun have a shit record for water pollution and being fined and prosecuted by the environment agency.
Just a month later they were pumping out their shit from tap water causing a cryptosporidium issue. On this occasion they were fined £300,000.
TheEA officer in this last case is quoted “The case illustrates that the Environment Agency will not hesitate to take action where companies pollute the environment, especially where measures could have been put in place to avoid it.”
In short this company who have also engaged in goose murder are a grubby shambles of an operation and persistent serial polluter of the environment and of water. Why should they get good PR for stumping up a miserly £150k when they are a £1.5 billion profit company?
The latest EA state of water report makes interesting reading, particularly on some themes which I have gone into before about the manner in which geese have at certain times been scapegoated for causing “environmental damage”.
The main findings are revealed below.
Thus we learn that agricultural and farming practices and the water industry are the main polluters and reason why river pollution is so bad- and nothing to do with wild birds and animals like geese.
One of the most interesting parts of the report concerns phosphorus. “The main cause of phosphorus in rivers are sewage effluent and run-off from agricultural land. “
In context the ludicrous Defra report outlining why geese can be culled contains the following misnomer. Like the author of this report, “Dr” John Allen, it is a fucking joke.
Perhaps Defra then, on the pure “scientific evidence” should be issuing general licences in how farmers can be “humanely culled” to prevent such incidents from occurring. 😆 Unfortunately scientists are bought and paid to make up lies on behalf of economic interest lobby groups like the agricultural/farming industry.
The report also mentions chemicals entering rivers- from of course more economic interest lobbies like the pharmaceuticals industry- to which farming is heavily linked- particularly in the form of antibiotics.
The pharmaceuticals industry along with fake “doctor” psychiatry is intent on hooking people on drugs and false hope. They invent a so called mental health “illness” , then encourage people to “talk about stigmas” etc which no doubt has boosted sales of their human body malware enormously, especially with copious pious celebrity/political endorsements. But all of these happy pills are eventually going down the shitter, into the water and poisoning the environment- so before you are “depressed”, perhaps try getting something that others before the snowflake quack science of the late 2oth Century came along and grasped, and that is