Frome Farmer Fined
On Tuesday (28 June) North Somerset Magistrates Court fined Michael Aylesbury more than £25,000. Aylesbury is a director of Cross Keys Farms Ltd. The company was found to have caused an unpermitted discharge of slurry. This polluted the Somerset Frome river in Frome, turning it brown and smelly in August 2020. The slurry pollution killed more than 120 adult fish, including many large pike, roach and chub.
The pollution came from slurry that had been washed out of a soiled cattle trailer. Then it was rinsed out onto a concrete yard at Bollow Farm, Silver Lane, East Woodlands. A second pile of slurry had been left open to the elements. That was washed into the surface water drain, also ending up in the river.
Environment Officers found the ditch and river smelt strongly of slurry and low in dissolved oxygen. Investigations also showed that the slurry pollution killed most invertebrates for 2.6 kilometres downstream.
Aylesbury was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,631.08. However this was not a first offence. In 2017 he was found guilty of polluting this same stretch of the River Frome in 2016, killing more than 1,700 fish.