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Water pollution cases rise by 25pc.

Byline: CARL BUTLER

POLLUTION incidents in the water industry rose by 25% last year -- but pollution caused by industry generally is down.

In its annual state of industry in England and Wales report, the Environment Agency claims its strategy of targeting high risk, poor performers, is working.

Agency Chief Executive Barbara Young says it shows as much good news to applaud as poor players to hold to account.

``Overall, these are encouraging results which show modern regulatory techniques are bearing fruit.

Our risk based approach -- paying more time and attention to high risk, poor performers and taking a lighter touch with those who demonstrate responsible environmental management -- is paying off for business and the environment, '' she said.

The number of pollution incidents from industry was down 12% on 2002 and by 43% over the last two years.

Farming and waste management industries both cut the number of serious pollution incidents they caused by 25% in 2003, the best results for pollution incidents in farming since agency records began. In 2003, the chemical industry more than halved its serious pollution incidents to just 11 across England and Wales.

But the construction industry is responsible for 3% of pollution incidents and producing 80 million tonnes of waste per year, but which could easily be reversed with waste minimisation and available clean-up techniques.

Water industry performance showed ``more needs to be done'' to secure advances made in the past, as pollution incidents in the sector rose by 25% in the last year.

This year's report highlights a growing trend of personal liability for corporate environmental crime.

Overall, the agency prosecuted a total of 266 companies in 2003, resulting in total fines of over pounds 2. 2m.

Eurocare Environmental Services Limited were fined a total of pounds 100, 000 with costs of pounds 114, 818 in February 2003, on a total of 10 charges.

Agency officers revealed how the waste disposal company, which has clinical waste disposal contracts for numerous NHS Trusts, loaded human tissue, used dressings and syringes into trailers and then left them in private lorry parks -- one of the trailers even oozed blood.

Others contained a wide range of clinical wastes which were later found to be up to two, and in one case five months old.

The offences occurred between February 2000 and February 2001
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 27, 2004
Words:385
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