Farmer fined for waste pollution

A farmer was today fined £2,000 by King's Lynn magistrates after admitting allowing waste to get into a drain, where it killed fish and aquatic organisms.

A farmer was fined £2,000 by King's Lynn magistrates yesterday after admitting allowing waste to get into a drain, where it killed fish and aquatic organisms.

James Flint pleaded guilty to causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter the Terrington Drain at Stow Bridge, near Downham Market, in September this year, which took six to eight weeks to clear.

He was also ordered to pay the Environment Agency's full prosecution costs of £3,290.

The court was told that Flint, who runs Bodgers Farm, near Stow Bridge, was away on holiday when the pollution happened but had not left proper instructions with his farm contractor for the storage and spreading of waste on his land.

The farmer took solid and liquid wastes from various vegetable-processing companies and either fed them to his livestock or put them on his land.

This should have been done by using a low-rate spray irrigator over the whole field but the liquid was instead pumped through a pipe from the storage lagoon, on to a farm track known as Black Drove.

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The court heard that the liquid waste formed pools on and around the track but then, by force of gravity, ran along the field into a farm ditch and then on into the drain.

An unknown number of fish and aquatic organisms had been killed as the oxygen level fell.

Flint admitted that he had left his farm contractor very few specific instructions and accepted responsibility for the incident.

He said he would stop taking waste on to the farm in the future and would join the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.