Yorkshire tops £1.7m Enforcement Undertakings for 2023


More than £1.7 million has made its way to environmental charities or projects across Yorkshire last year, thanks to Enforcement Undertakings (EUs) paid by companies or individuals found to have been damaging our environment and breaching the law.  

The EUs, amounting to £1,718,128.19 will go to a range of charities including Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The Aire Rivers Trust and Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust to support their work across the region.  

An Enforcement Undertaking is a voluntary offer made by companies and individuals to make amends for their offending, including donations to an environmental charity to carry out environmental improvements in the local area.   

In Yorkshire, nine EUs were agreed by the Environment Agency in 2023, an increase from four in 2022.  

Mike Dugher, Environment Agency Area Director for Yorkshire, said: 

Protecting the environment in Yorkshire and taking action against those that damage or threaten this is our utmost priority.

While we will always take forward prosecutions in the most serious cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements.

They allow polluters to correct and restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents by improving their procedures, helping ensure future compliance with environmental requirements.

Throughout 2024, the Environment Agency will continue to take enforcement action against operators to ensure that compliance with environmental permits and regulations is maintained.

  • The latest round of penalties, agreed between June – October 2023 included £150,000 paid by Yorkshire Water to Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust for an unauthorised crude sewage discharge into Kirk Bridge Dike and the River Don, Sheffield in April 2020.  
  • In addition to making the payment of £150,000, Yorkshire Water agreed to cover the Environment Agency’s investigation costs and to replace the sensor on the telemetry equipment at Darnall Road Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) to ensure they are made aware of any further issues at the asset as they occur.  
  • Construction company BDW Trading Limited also agreed to donate £75,000 to the Aire Rivers Trust for work being carried out by Friends of Bradford Beck after two offences of silt pollution – the first on 4 December 2020 and the second on the 26 November 2021, this time in breach of a permit obtained after the first incident, when contaminated water containing silt was washed into Fagley Beck. 
  • BDW Trading Limited had an environmental permit which allowed silty discharge of no more than 100mg of silt in one litre of water, but in November 2021, officers visited the site and saw silty water entering Fagley Beck from a Carlow Tank. The discharge was measured at over 6 times the allowed amount under their permit.  
  • After the incident, the company agreed to put in place new measures to protect watercourses, carry out weekly inspections to ensure silt runoff is effectively managed and implement a revised Silt Management Plan with its contractors.  
  • Furniture Choice Limited based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire have donated £44,488.19 to the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust after failing to register as a producer and for failing to properly recover and recycle packaging waste.
  • The company had failed to comply with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 as amended, by not registering as a producer of waste and failing to recover and recycle that waste in the years 2014 – 2020 inclusive.
  • In addition to the agreed Enforcement Undertaking payment, the company will also take action to prevent a recurrence of the non-compliance by continued registration with a compliance scheme; implementing a methodology to ensure the collation of data is accurate and consistent, whilst incorporating responsibility for future compliance into the role of the Chief Financial Officer.
  • Also in Yorkshire, Greenford Haulage & Aggregates Limited has made a payment of £30,000 to the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust for operating without an environmental permit and wrongly depositing over 2,000 tonnes of waste soils within the flood plain of the River Swale.  
  • This money will be used to fund works to improve the habitat and water quality of the river.  In addition to the donation, the company has also refunded the EA’s investigation costs totalling over £4,000 and withdrawn from waste management haulage services altogether.

Source: Environment Agency 1st March 2024