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Molson Coors fined £100k for polluting river

Brewer Molson Coors’ UK arm has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £30,000 after it was found guilty of polluting a river in Hampshire.

Molson Coors UK Limited was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,586.49 after it was found guilty of polluting the River Wey

In a case brought by the UK Environment Agency, Molson Coors Brewery UK Limited (MCB) was charged with two offences relating to the pollution of the River Wey and the Lasham Drain, which carries surface water runoff and is a tributary of the River Wey.

Appearing at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on 17 March, MCB pleaded guilty to discharging waste from its brewery in Alton into the river and breaching the condition of its environmental permit with respect to monitoring the Lasham Drain for fungus.

The court heard that there had been gutters on the building known as the “boiler room”, located next to a waste chamber, that ran directly to the Lasham Drain. The gutters had been removed when the building had been extended and the chamber was converted from a storm water drain to a trade waste drain from this section of the building.

When the alterations were made the contractors had used a liner which did not seal the chamber to divert the waste, allowing waste to run into the river. The Environment Agency also said the brewer has failed to respond to regular monitoring and visual inspections that they were required to carry out as a requirement of their permit issued by the Environment Agency, meaning that the pollution went undetected.

“We take these types of incidents very seriously and will do everything within our powers to safeguard the environment and people affected, and that includes bringing those who harm the environment to account for their actions”, said Paul Greaves, senior environment agency officer.

“It is important that the courts send out a clear message to all companies operating in this sector. Regulations are there to protect the environment and that the courts will act firmly where regulations are breached and where the environment is either damaged or put at risk of damage.”

Molson Coors said its was “serious about our commitment to environmental compliance”, noting that is has a “long and respectful history of maintaining the water course around the Alton brewery site”

“We regret this isolated incident occurred”, it added. “We wholly respect the Magistrates’ decision and recognise this matter is now closed. Molson Coors acknowledges it was a contributor to an already existing problem and we will continue to watch with interest as the Environment Agency pursues its investigation into other third parties’ involvement in this case.”

The source of the River Wey

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