BUILDING giant, Persimmon Homes, have been handed a fine of over £400,000 after repeated pollution violations on the River Gavenny in Monmouthshire.

On Tuesday, April 5, the firm was fined a total of £433,331 at Newport Magistrates Court for violating Environmental Permitting Regulations. 

In 2019, seven pollution breaches were reported at the Willow Court development in Abergavenny, all of which were caused by illegal water discharge activities.An additional offence occurred in February 2021.

Water run-off from the site, which had been contaminated with silt, was verified as the source of pollution by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Despite discussions in March 2019 about how to limit the risk of pollution, preventative measures on the site were not fully implemented.

Persimmon Homes was fined £53,000 for each offence, as well as being ordered to pay NRW costs of £9161 and a £170 victim surcharge.

Pollution in River Gavenny

After pleading guilty to the offences, a Persimmon Homes East Wales spokesperson told Construction Enquirere: “We would like to sincerely apologise for these incidents which occurred some years ago in Abergavenny.

“While we are relieved that there has been no material harm caused to the local environment, and it has been acknowledged that they were not deliberate acts, we fully understand their potential significance.

“These incidents should not have happened and we have made a number of changes to local personnel and procedures in South East Wales to improve the on-site implementation of appropriate preventative measures.

“As a company we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and express our deep regret that these incidents took place.”

Willow Court

Anthony Bruten, Environment Officer for Natural Resources Wales said: “The construction industry has a duty of care to the communities in which they operate, to ensure the correct controls and safeguards are in place in order to prevent incidents such as these occurring.

“In this case, Persimmon Homes’ failure to put in place suitable mitigation methods meant that silt runoff from the site continued to negatively impact the nearby water courses and the River Gavenny over a period of 10 months.”