Shropshire farmer fined £16,000 for environmental offences

After pleading guilty to one charge relating to water abstraction and nine charges relating to nitrate pollution management, Telford Magistrates’ Court
have fined Edward Fair of Peatswood Farm in Shropshire £16,000, and ordered him to pay £20,000 in costs, along with a £170 victim surcharge.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008 and Sections 24(1) and (4) of the Water Resources
Act 1991.

The Environment Agency discovered that between May 2015 and April 2017, the Defendant had abstracted on average over 20,000 litres of water per day from
a borehole on the farmland without an abstraction licence, and, between October 2016 and April 2017, Mr Fair was abstracting an average of 67,000 litres
of water per day, more than three times the legal limit. This water was being used in farming activities and was also being supplied to eight nearby
tenanted properties.

Evidence gathered by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council revealed that the water supplied to these properties was failing quality standards for nitrates.

A formal notice was served on Mr Fair in October 2015, requiring him to notify the residents of the supplied properties advising them that the water was
not fit for consumption due to high nitrate levels. The notice was withdrawn in May 2016, as a result of improvements made to the supply infrastructure
by Mr Fair, including installation of a chlorination dosing pump.

Mr Fair’s farm lies in an area designated a nitrate vulnerable zone. Farmers practising within these zones are required to plan and record their farming
activities, including the application of manures and fertilisers, in a manner prescribed under the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008. The
purpose of these Regulations is to protect the environment by reducing nitrate pollution.

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