Man sentenced for North East fish kill incident

Graham Simpson, 61, from Ellingham in Northumberland, appeared at Berwick Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 8 January, where he pleaded guilty to two separate offences of polluting a tributary of Long Nanny Burn.

He was fined £2,261 and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge amounting to £3,922.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Matthew Treece told the court that on 18 May 2017 Graham Simpson reported a spill of around 3,000 litres of liquid fertiliser from an overturned tractor mounted sprayer at Home Farm, Ellingham.

Environment Agency officers attended and found the fertiliser had gone into a tributary of the Long Nanny through two highway drains. Simpson had covered the drains with soil to try to stop the fertiliser entering.

However, water quality samples along Long Nanny found high levels of ammonia. Officers also saw thousands of dead fish, with the official mortality count at 2,110 caused by the increased levels of ammonia in the water.

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