20-30 tons of sewage dumped in Trough Well Lane

Wakefield and West Riding Herald
Saturday 8 September 1877


William Pearson, market gardener, Potovens, was summoned for allowing night soil to remain in a highroad in the hamlet of Wrenthorpe. Mr. Wainwright prosecuted, and Mr. Burton defended. Mr. W. R. Hall, the surveyor, stated that a short time ago the defendant obtained between 20 and 30 tons of night soil from Bradford, and shot it into Trough Well Lane, leading from Bragg Lane to Potovens. The road – 30ft. wide – was, in consequence, reduced to a width of only 6ft. But this was not the only evil. During the late heavy ruins, the offensive matter from the night soil had percolated into two wells, one of them 50ft., and the other only 6ft. from the heap of manure; and altogether the case was of so glaring a nature that be was determined to bring the matter before the Court. In the first place, Mr. Burton objected that this lane is not a highway within the meaning of the Act of Parliament, but simply leads to the land. ln cross-examination, he next elicited from the surveyor that, in accordance with notice served upon him, defendant was removing the night soil when he (the Surveyor) was coming to Wakefield to take out the summons; but the Surveyor added that, although the bulk of the manure had been removed, there was a considerable quantity of refuse left, and this was still finding its way into the wells. The Bench having over-ruled his first objection, Mr. Burton then contended that, seeing night soil had been placed on the road with impunity by others for at least a hundred years past, defendant had in this case acted under a supposition of right. Mr. Hall served him with a notice on the 29th of August, out then took out the summons on the 31st, which, he contended showed malice on the part of the Surveyor. In defence, Mr. Bryan H. Ramsden stated that the road in question had never been repaired by the Surveyors during the last 60 years, to his knowledge. The Bench considered Mr. Pearson had no right to put his manure where he did; but, believing that he had acted under a misapprehension, they would impose only a nominal fine of 1s. and costs.

Wrenthorpe Colliery pollutes Balne Beck again

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Wednesday 25 January 1922


Before his Honour Judge Randolph, at the Wakefield County Court yesterday, Mr H F Atter, on behalf the West Riding Rivers Board, applied under the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act, 1876, for an order directing payment by the Low Laithes Colliery Company (Limited), Wakefield, of penalties for default in complying with an order dated November 4, 1913, requiring the colliery company to abstain from allowing the flow of polluted water from the coal-washing plant at the Wrenthorpe Pit.

Mr Atter stated that on March 17, 1914, an application was made for penalties for breach of the order of 1913, and an order was made for the payment of £50 per day for offences on two days, but execution was stayed until proof should be given of further pollution.

Mr James P Hutchinson, an inspector of the Rivers Board, said that on several occasions in the past three months he had found the effluent at the Wrenthorpe Pit unsatisfactory, chiefly owing to neglect of the settling tanks and the non-working of the pump. Cross-examined by Mr R Watson (for the colliery company), witness admitted the pollution was not offensive. It consisted of small particles of coal deposited as black sludge in the course of stream, which flowed into the Balne Beck.

Mr Watson said they did not dispute the fact that there had been pollution, but they had done their best under difficulties, and the company had now entered into contracts at a sum of considerably more than £10,000 with a view of making their coal-washing plant ahead of anything of its kind in the country.

His Lordship ordered payment of penalties of £25 in each of six cases and costs.

Early 20th century anti-pollution fines

Leeds Mercury
Wednesday 18 March 1914


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.