Whyte and Mackay fined after oil leak

Whisky distillers Whyte and Mackay has been fined £9,000 for leaking up to 20,000 litres of oil from one of its plants into a nature habitat.

The firm pled guilty to polluting the Cromarty Firth waters, an important habitat for birds, last August.

The spillage of “fusel oil”, a flammable by-product of the distillation process  is a contravention of Water Environment regulations.

A spokesperson for Whyte and Mackay said: “Thankfully there was no environmental damage. We accept full responsibility and apologise profusely for the incident.”

The leak from an oil storage tank and bund was discovered by officers from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Craig Harris, head of the crown office’s wildlife and environment crime unit, said: “This was entirely preventable, industry must ensure the proper maintenance of their systems to ensure they meet their environmental obligations.

“The discharge was made to an internationally important and sensitive site.”

The Cromarty Firth supports breeding of osprey and common tern among other birds.

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