Company to pay charity £50,000 following pollution sanction

20 Mar 2024 News

By adragan/ Adobe

Northumbrian Water will pay £50,000 to Tyne Rivers Trust after an investigation revealed that a burst pipe polluted an area in South Tyneside.

The Environment Agency found that the burst resulted in an unauthorised discharge of treated chlorinated water and silt.

Northumbrian Water submitted an enforcement undertaking which is a voluntary offer made by companies or individuals to make amends for their offending, and usually includes a payment aimed at securing benefit or improvement to the environment. 

The Environment Agency has now accepted the enforcement undertaking.

Tyne Rivers Trust will use the donation on two projects which will improve the Tyne catchment, including changes to land management practices and work to improve water quality.

Charity Commission data for the financial year ending 31 October 2022 puts the Tyne Rivers Trust’s total income at £849,002 and total expenditure at £597,625.


The water main is part of a larger network that supplies water to households, with the pipe supplying 8,500 properties in Sunderland.

In August 2020 Northumbrian Water reported to the Environment Agency that the water main had burst, polluting the watercourse with silt and chlorine.

An environment officer attended the following day and saw extensive deposits of silt on the banks and bed of Monkton Burn, with pollution affecting more than 500 metres of the burn, to where it meets the River Don.

After the incident, Northumbrian Water repaired the section of pipe and installed temporary pollution control and remediation measures. It also purchased hand-held equipment to measure chlorine levels. There has been no long-term impact on the watercourse.

‘Payment will be invested back into the local area’

Graham Siddle, land and water team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Water companies have a responsibility to avoid unpermitted discharges to protect the local environment, and we will take action when pollution occurs.

“We always consider enforcement options on a case by case basis and enforcement undertakings allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements and outcomes.

“This £50,000 payment will be invested back into the local area to enhance the environment for people and wildlife.”

Robbie Moore, water minister, said: “This penalty paid by Northumbrian Water shows how those who damage our natural environment will be held to account. 

“The £50,000 will be channelled back into improving the local environment for the benefit of residents and visitors alike, as well as protecting local wildlife.”

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