Bio-diesel producer Global Commodities of Shipdham, Norfolk, has been fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £5,282 in costs following prosecution by the Environment Agency (EA).
The company that makes bio-diesel from used cooking oil, pleaded guilty to nine offences at Swaffham magistrates court.
Magistrates heard that between the end of December 2004 and January 2005 used cooking oil escaped from the site and entered a nearby drainage ditch. Residents alerted the EA when the local watercourse was covered in an oily, red film of liquid, with one resident reporting his pet cat and dog returned home smothered in oil.
Under the permit help by Global Commodities it had to gain approval from the EA before altering its process. Magistrates heard that the defendant’s actions had been prompted by financial motives, that the process had been altered to increase the scale of production and the company had avoided the cost of a full permit.
EA officer Alan Krailing said: “The company has shown little regard for the impact of its operations on the environment. Had they complied fully with the conditions of their permit and informed us about the key changes on site, the pollution may not have happened.”