[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 12:43 GMT
Airport guilty of killing fish
Gatwick Airport
Chemicals were accidentally hosed from a runway into a stream
An airport faces a hefty fine for killing more than 5,000 fish by polluting a river with runway detergent.

Magistrates at Haywards Heath heard how chemicals used to clear rubber, oil and grease from a runway at Gatwick Airport escaped into a nearby watercourse.

Gatwick Airport Ltd has pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing polluting matter to enter the River Mole in September last year.

The prosecution was brought against the company by the Environment Agency after about 5,200 fish of 14 different species died.

Slippery surface

Magistrates were told that these were probably three-quarters of the fish in the area.

They were killed after airport staff tried to clear the runway of a seldom-used detergent which had unexpectedly foamed up to create a dangerous, slippery surface, the court heard.

A water hose was used to clear the foam so planes could safely land.

The unintentional result that the liquid flowed into the River Mole to the south of the airport, via Crawters Brook.

Gatwick Airport Ltd faces a fine of more than 20,000 after magistrates referred the case to Lewes Crown Court for sentencing.

They decided their powers, which allow them to impose a fine only up to 20,000, were insufficient.




SEE ALSO:
Pollution fine for chemical plant
14 Aug 03  |  North East Wales
New pollution complaint
03 Apr 03  |  England
Slurry polluter fined 5,000
19 Dec 02  |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific