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IFF in Haverhill pays out £66,000 after chemicals from its factory polluted the Stour Brook



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The owners of a Haverhill factory have given £50,000 to charity after the Environment Agency (EA) found it was at fault for almost 100 litres of cleaning chemicals going into a river.

International Flavours & Fragrances I.F.F. (Great Britain) Ltd, in Duddery Hill, allowed around 93 litres of an undiluted solution called Quatdet to enter Stour Brook in October 2017.

As a result, the company has paid £50,000 to Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust in a civil sanction, as well as the EA's investigation and legal costs of £16,299.

The Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill at the time of the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton
The Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill at the time of the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton

The money will support the charity’s work protecting river habitats in the two counties.

Ben Marshall, a land and water officer for the Environment Agency in Suffolk, said: “It is important all organisations take action to avoid polluting the environment through careful consideration of their processes and procedures, and the monitoring of operations.

“Serious errors occurred at IFF’s Haverhill plant, allowing a cleaning agent to escape into the brook.

The sign that appeared at the Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill after the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton
The sign that appeared at the Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill after the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton

“Following the Environment Agency’s investigation, IFF took steps to avoid a repeat by installing equipment to contain spills, and improving its accident-reporting system. The company has also reviewed the sites drainage plans.”

In agreeing to the sanction -done under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 (as emended) - known as an enforcement undertaking that can be used as an alternative to prosecution, the EA accepted the company’s negligence wasn’t down to dangerous or foolhardy behaviour.

The agency was also satisfied IFF had improved its infrastructure and systems since the incident to prevent it happening again.

Enforcement undertakings allow companies and individuals to make good some of the environmental damage they cause, including through a financial contribution to a local project.

The Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill at the time of the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton
The Stour Brook at East Town Park, in Haverhill at the time of the pollution incident in October 2017. Picture by Mecha Morton

The Environment Agency must also be sure the polluter will make changes to its operations.

While agreeing to enforcement undertakings, the Environment Agency continues to prosecute organisations and individuals where evidence shows high levels of culpability and serious environment harm.

The Environment Agency urges anyone who spots what they think is pollution to call its free, 24-hour incident hotline: 0800 807060. Officers respond to limit damage to the environment, protecting people and wildlife.

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