Water Pollution in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Alphacell Ltd v Woodward
    • House of Lords
    • 03 mai 1972

    The whole complex operation which might lead to this result was an operation deliberately conducted by the Appellants and I fail to see how a defect in one stage of it, even if we must assume that this happened without their negligence, can enable them to say they did not cause the pollution. In my opinion, complication of this case by infusion of the concept of mens rea, and its exceptions, is unnecessary and undesirable.

    The vital question is whether the Appellants caused that pollution within the meaning of section 2 (1) of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Act 1951. The nature of causation has been discussed by many eminent philosophers and also by a number of learned judges in the past. I consider, however, that what or who has caused a certain event to occur is essentially a practical question of fact which can best be answered by ordinary commonsense rather than abstract metaphysical theory.

  • Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs v Feakins and another
    • Chancery Division
    • 26 novembre 2004

    iii) Although the words "suitable in that behalf" are capable of being read objectively, the context in which they appear (that of a power exercisable by the Minister) gives some margin of judgement to the Minister in the selection of the site. This margin of judgement may be important if, as is theoretically possible, it is necessary to balance conflicting desiderata.

  • Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather
    • House of Lords
    • 09 décembre 1993

    Of course, although liability for nuisance has generally been regarded as strict, at least in the case of a defendant who has been responsible for the creation of a nuisance, even so that liability has been kept under control by the principle of reasonable user — the principle of give and take as between neighbouring occupiers of land, under which "

  • Cargill v Gotts
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 18 décembre 1980

    I conclude that every abstraction of water by the plaintiff from Mill Pond after 30th June 1965 was illegal. It follows, in my judgment, that the plaintiff cannot rely on any abstraction of water carried out after 30th June 1965 in order to establish an easement by prescription. The court will not recognise an easement established by illegal activity. The 1963 Act, however, does not contain any provision which destroys an easement already acquired.

  • King v Brandywine Reinsurance Company (UK) Ltd (formerly Cigna Re Company (UK) Ltd) [QBD (Comm)]
    • Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)
    • 10 mai 2004

    Mr Kettel had many years experience in the energy industry, including 16 years at Atlantic Richfield and 9 years at Chevron, in both corporations responsible exclusively for insurance matters. He had for 18 years been a member of the Oil Insurance Group consisting of about 15 insurance managers from the major energy companies, including Exxon, who regularly met to discuss insurance problems. He was also a board member of ITIA – the International Tanker Insurance Association, from 1975 to 1994.

  • Empress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority
    • House of Lords
    • 05 février 1998

    (4) If the defendant did something which produced a situation in which the polluting matter could escape but a necessary condition of the actual escape which happened was also the act of a third party or a natural event, the justices should consider whether that act or event should be regarded as a normal fact of life or something extraordinary.

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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Application Of Integrated Pollution Prevention And Control To Waste Water Treatment
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
  • The cost of non-compliance
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Thames Water has received a record £20.3 million fine for water pollution. The fine is ten times higher than the previous largest fine of £2 million (given to Southern Water in December 2016).
    .... Thames Water has received a record £20.3 million fine for water pollution. The fine is ......
  • Monster Cruise Ships Menace Venice
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    The UK’s Mail Online newspaper has some interesting photographs today regarding the ongoing protests by environmental groups in Italy who are trying to protect the beautiful city of Venice from the...
    ...... trying to protect the beautiful city of Venice from the effects of water pollution, air emissions and erosion of historical building by traffic ......
  • Sentencing guidelines for environmental offences can lead to significant fines
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The new sentencing guidelines for environmental offences (in force since July 2014) can lead to significant fines for companies – as shown by a recent case involving a house builder.
    ...... Miller Homes was fined £100,000 on 19 May 2016 for water pollution offences. The offence involved the unauthorised discharge of ......
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