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Haulage company fined after oil spill

A haulage company has been hit with a heavy fine after an oil spill in its vehicle maintenance area seriously affected local wildlife.

The company, VK transport, were ordered to pay just under £7,000 for the incident which polluted the River Thames.

The Environment Agency brought the case to Kingston-upon-Thames Magistrates' Court after finding that the haulier had allowed the oil to seep into a surface sewer that led to a waste outflow at Westfield Landing in Kingston. A member of the public contacted the Environment Agency after noticing the oil spill on the surface of the river.

The source of the pollution was eventually traced to the maintenance yard in Marsh Lane that was leased by VK Transport.

On inspection, it was found that the oil interceptor (used to stop small spills) in the yard was so full it could not function, which led to an overflow of oil. VK accepted responsibility for not emptying the interceptor and were fined the above amount.

The Environment officer said that the spill caused:

"significant damage to local wildlife and the general area.

"Although a number of swans had to be rescued and cared for by the local swan sanctuary, it was fortunate that the pollution didn't result in any fish mortality.

"Irresponsible handling of oil and disposing of oil down drains is totally unacceptable and we are pleased that the court has recognised this."

All companies that use liquids such as fuel oil need to have the correct spill control equipment such as spill kits on site, to deal with spills as soon as they are noticed.

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