Somerset Food Business fined

Alvis Brothers of Lye Cross Farm near Cheddar have been fined £29,000 for incidents of environmental pollution. The case was brought before Bristol Magistrates Court on 2 December. District Judge Lynne Matthews described the offences as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘appalling’. Costs of £8,000 were also awarded against the firm. Judge Matthews added that in all the pollution incidents she had dealt with, this case was exceptional. Offenders had not had as many slaps across the hand from the Environment Agency as in this case.

On 28 June 2019 an environment officer attended Lye Cross Farm. That visit followed a report of slurry pollution to a tributary of the Congresbury Yeo near Cheddar. The source of the pollution was found to be run off from a heap of farmyard manure at Lye Cross Farm.  The run off had entered a surface water drain that led to the stream. More than half a kilometre was polluted.

Alvis Brothers Ltd built a basic bund to contain the run off. However when environment officers returned to the farm on 2 July effluent was leaking from the bund. Once again it contaminated the watercourse.

The leak of slurry from the bund was still happening on a return visit to the site on 31 July.

On a farm visit on 18 September, environment officers witnessed a second pollution incident. This time as a result of pig slurry being spread on nearby fields.  The slurry entered a field drain, discharging to the same watercourse.

Environment Agency Environment Officer, Jenny Hasell, was appalled. “Repeated pollution events from Lye Cross Farm have caused protracted damage to the local environment. We expect much better from such a large and experienced farming business. Both for the environment and the local communities.

If you are concerned about pollution to water or land, contact our 24-hour incident line on 0800 807060.

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