ONE of the country’s biggest Cheddar cheese suppliers has been fined a whopping £1.52 million for multiple pollutions that resulted in fish kills.
Dairy Crest, which is owned by the Canadian firm Saputo and makes Cathedral City cheese as well as Clover and Country Life spreads, was also ordered to pay more than £272,000 in costs at Truro Crown Court for offences at its Davidstow Creamery site in North Cornwall.
The Environment Agency brought the prosecution, and while angling clubs have welcomed the judgement for highlighting the problems, there are concerns that the offences, which included leaks of part-treated effluent into watercourses, will continue. The court heard how the incidents led to odours so bad they stopped local residents from sleeping, causing headaches and dizziness.
“Although the fine looks substantial, we can only hope it’s enough to convince this irresponsible company that it’s less profitable to pay a fine than it is to continue to pollute the river and the wider environment,” said Geoff Hardy of Fish Legal.
“This sentence covers offences taking place over five years from 2016, but the pollution is apparently continuing. Operators like this need to learn that this sort of wholesale environmental offending will never be tolerated, and we hope that the EA will continue to deliver this message.”