Hartland farmer fined after slurry polluted stream

A North Devon farmer has been ordered to pay �6,177 in fines and costs following a slurry spill at a dairy farm in Hartland.. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.   On February 23, 2009 Agency officers responded to a report of pollution in the

A North Devon farmer has been ordered to pay �6,177 in fines and costs following a slurry spill at a dairy farm in Hartland.. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On February 23, 2009 Agency officers responded to a report of pollution in the village of Philham, North Devon. They found a stream had been contaminated with farm waste and traced the pollution to St Clare's Farm, Hartland.

The farmer told the officers the slurry store had overtopped following a 'surge' of waste. When they inspected the store the officers noticed it had been overfilled and was still 'full to the brim.' The area around the outside of the store was covered in slurry and dirty water which ran down a bank in several places and into the stream.

When an officer inspected the Spekesmill Stream he noticed the water had turned green with foam and debris at the side of the stream. Sewage fungus was growing on the stream bed suggesting the pollution had taken place over a period of time.


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On June 13, 2009 Agency officers were called to St Clare's Farm again following a report of a further pollution incident on the Spekesmill stream. The pollution was traced to a pipe discharging silage liquor from the farm.

An ecological survey of local streams showed the pollution had caused a serious reduction in fish numbers and aquatic life. Water samples taken close to the farm contained high levels of ammonia that can be toxic to river life.

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'This pollution occurred because the defendant had too many cattle at his farm and did not have adequate storage for the slurry and manure produced by the animals. He failed to follow the Code of Good Agricultural Practice or act on advice we gave after a similar pollution incident in 2005,' said Phil Siddall for the Environment Agency.

P & J Pengilly and Sons, of St Clare's Farm, Hartland, were fined a total of �4,000 by Barnstaple magistrates after pleading guilty to two offences under Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991 including polluting a watercourse with slurry and silage effluent. The farm was also ordered to pay �2,177 costs.

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