Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, has been fined £8m after admitting to a fuel leak from one of its petrol stations in Haslingden which polluted nearby sewers and waterways.
The Environment Agency said that around 23,500 litres of petrol escaped from a fuel tank over a 29-hour period in July 2014. It has been reported that the supermarket firm's "recklessness" lead to dozens of people, suffering from nausea and headaches caused by fumes emanating from the fuel in the sewers, to seek medical help. In addition to this, over 40 dead fish were found within 1.5 miles of where the pollution entered the water and it is reported that anglers even reported finding dead fish more than six miles downstream.
The Environment Agency's investigation found the leak resulted from Tesco’s failure to address a known issue with the fuel delivery system and an inadequate alarm system. This said to be compounded by "poor" emergency procedures.
Following the incident, UKIP’s environment spokesperson, Dr Julia Reid, was pleased to hear that Tesco plans to take action to protect against similar fuel spills from its petrol stations in future.
Dr Reid said: “Although the leak was clearly unintentional, the lack of rigorous preventative measures, and robust emergency procedures, is indicative of an inadequate response towards protecting the environment. Hopefully, a fine of this size sends out a clear message to others that they must do everything in their power to safeguard the environment against similar incidents in the future.”
Tesco has taken full responsibility and apologised profusely for the incident.