Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Housing estate pollution sanction sees environment charity get funding boost from Keepmoat Homes [August 2023]

The press release issued by the Environment Agency on 30 August 2023.

Keepmoat Homes Ltd, a company that specialises in building residential housing and which owns the site at Heron’s Reach near Bradford, will donate £100,000, while Applebridge Construction Limited, which were contracted by Keepmoat Homes for the first phase of the development, will donate £35,000.

An investigation by the Environment Agency found that Pitty Beck was polluted a number of times between October 2016 and November 2018 while construction was underway.

The companies submitted Enforcement Undertakings to the Environment Agency, which have now been accepted.

An Enforcement Undertaking is a voluntary offer made by companies and individuals to make amends for their offending, and usually includes a donation to an environmental charity to carry out improvements in the local area.

On 13 October 2016 Keepmoat Homes reported pollution from its site, and an Environment Agency officer confirmed that silty water was running from the site and into the beck. The same happened on numerous occasions over subsequent months. The company did not have an environmental permit to allow for treated water to be discharged into the beck.

The company obtained this permit in October 2017. This allowed the discharge of water from one outlet at a maximum rate of no more than 40mg/l of suspended solids. Only days later, a discharge containing 555 mg/l entered the beck from a different outlet, followed by the first of several permit breaches from the permitted outlet containing more than the allowed concentration of suspended solids.

As part of the requirements of the Enforcement Undertaking, Keepmoat Homes revised its surface water management plan for the site, constructed urban drainage ponds, purchased a siltbuster and gulley bags to remove sediment from the water leaving site and improved its inspection and monitoring regime.

Applebridge Construction employed a full time health and safety manager, reviewed and updated its environmental management system and delivered bespoke training to staff.

Environment Agency Area Environment Manager Ben Hocking said:

Housing construction companies – like all companies carrying out any major development work – have a responsibility to ensure their work does not impact on the environment and we will take action when pollution occurs.

While we will always take forward prosecutions in appropriate cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements.

They allow polluters to restore the harm caused to the environment and prevent repeat incidents by improving their training and procedures.

Water Minister Rebecca Pow said:

Companies that damage our natural environment must be held to account and enforcement action like this ensures polluters pay and help clean up our rivers and waterways.

Our Plan for Water is delivering more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement right across the water sector.

Aire Rivers Trust will use the donations on the monitoring and prevention of pollution on Bradford Beck, a ‘pocket park’ proposal at Bradford Beck and restoring habitats in the catchment, including some wetlands at Pitty Beck.

Bradford-based environmental charity the Aire Rivers Trust will use the donations on the monitoring and prevention of pollution on Bradford Beck, and to restore riverside habitats across the catchment. The charity works to improve the River Aire for both wildlife and local communities.

Simon Watts, Operations Manager at the Aire Rivers Trust, said:

We’re pleased to see money from polluters being spent on restoring Bradford’s streams and river. We believe the work it will fund will create a lasting impact on the health of the beck that runs through the heart of Bradford.