Crouchland Farm fined for 13 km pollution of the River Kird, in 2013

The Magistrate today (Friday), in Worthing Magistrates Court, has fined Crouchland Farm for the substantial damage to 13 kilometres of the River Kird in 2013.

Crouchland Farm asked for another event, on 26/11/2014, to be taken into consideration - when polluting material was discharged again onto fields.

As Crouchland Farm is a small company, a fine of £4,000 was given and with the Environment Agency costs of £3,917 this brings the total to £8,037

Having submitted a planning application in recent weeks for a new 'Mega-dairy' probably costing in excess of £2 million, it was frankly comical to hear the Crouchland Farm solicitor say they were unable to pay today - or within 14 days - as they have a cash-flow issue! The Magistrate has allowed them to pay the £8,037 within 28 days.

Their financial situation hardly fills this community with confidence in the face of this substantial planning application.

Leon Mekitarian, due to a personal issue, was not present.

It was very interesting to also hear from Mr Smith, the Crouchland solicitor, that Crouchland Biogas Ltd and Crouchland Farm were 'Intrinsically linked.'

Regarding Crouchland Biogas Ltd, which made a £250,000 loss last year, the Magistrate asked when they envisaged that a profit would be made. Mr Smith replied that it could be 5-10 years, having previously explained that the start up costs had been 'enormous.' It still beggars belief that such an investment was made without securing planning permission.

BBC South and the West Sussex County Times were both present in Court.

The photo below shows the next pollution event (in June 2015) which the EA will be investigating. The picture shows the the start of the digestate spill from lagoon 2, which had no permit to store digestate.