Anti-pollution fines over 100 years ago

Leeds Mercury
Wednesday 18 March 1914

POLLUTING BALNE BECK
RIVERS BOARD ACTION AGAINST WRENTHORPE COLLIERY

At the Wakefield County Court yesterday, before his Honour Judge Greenhow, the West Riding Rivers Board brought an action against the Low Laithes Colliery Company Limited to recover penalties for alleged breach of an order made upon them on November 4th last to abstain from turning polluting effluent from their Wrenthorpe Colliery at Wakefield into the Balne Beck.

Evidence was given that on several subsequent occasions black and turbid liquid had been seen flowing from the colliery into the beck, the result of an overflow from settling tanks at the coal washer.

One the witnesses, farmer, through whose land the stream from the colliery runs, stated that the stream water was not fit for his horses to drink, and he had, therefore, to keep a tub the land full of town’s water.

For the respondents, Mr Blakley, of Dewsbury, stated that since the order two settling tanks had been constructed and four others were in course of construction. Some of the pollutions seen by the Rivers Board’s inspectors, he suggested, were the result of accident.

His Honour imposed a penalty of £100 (£50 each in respect of two days), but ordered that this should not be enforced if no further pollution occurs after the completion of the plant six weeks hence. He granted costs against the respondents.