The South East Rivers Trust notes today’s judgement at Lewes Crown Court that Thames Water has been fined £3.3million for polluting a section of the River Mole near Gatwick Airport on October 11, 2017.
About 1,400 fish were killed in the incident on the River Mole between Crawley in Sussex and Horley in Surrey.
In a statement, SERT said:
“There is no excuse for polluting rivers which are the lifeblood of our landscapes. This incident decimated fish populations on the Gatwick Stream and impacted the ecology of the river far beyond into the catchment of the River Mole.
“Six years after this pollution incident the river and local angling club are still suffering.
“We welcome Thames Water’s fine, while hoping it would have been higher.
“We are furious to hear the Judge’s conclusion that Thames Water attempted to mislead the regulator.
“They have asked to work with us to help repair the damage by providing £1m in the form of a voluntary reparation to help improve the river’s habitat and water quality that is so important to the local community.”
SERT is already using the voluntary reparation to improve the health and resilience of the Gatwick Stream and other waterways impacted by this pollution event.
The money is being used to fund projects, such as the Caring for Crawley’s Rivers project, that improve the quality of the river habitat, identify and remedy systematic water quality issues in the catchment, and engage local communities in the health of their rivers, including carrying out education sessions.
SERT will also be working to gather data and evidence to support the development and deployment of these remediation projects and to monitor their success.