Hounslow-based operator’s waste traced by Environment Agency by following drain system to its yard
Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd, Eastern Business Park, Ely Road, Hounslow, was fined £18,000 by Ealing Magistrates’ Court on 4 December 2017. The Court ordered the firm to pay £12,113.62 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170. The company was charged with two counts of allowing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into the River Crane, between May 2015 and February 2016, as well as one count of failing to provide the Environment Agency with documents relating to its activities.
The sole director of the firm, Allen Jeyakumar, of Lee Road, Greenford, was fined £3,134 by the court, on three counts of allowing Symphony to commit the offences. Mr Jeyakumar also had to pay a victim surcharge of £142. Both Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd and Allen Jeyakumar pleaded guilty to all charges at an earlier hearing.
Officers from the Environment Agency turned detective in 2015, tracing pollution in the river to where Symphony operated, a trading estate minutes from Heathrow Airport. A monitoring device, called a sonde, found the river had been polluted. Three more sondes identified the operator as the source, which officers confirmed through a network of drains. The watercourse was further polluted when chemicals and dirty water entered the drains after staff washed vehicles on Symphony’s premises, despite warnings from the Environment Agency and the company’s landlords doing so was against the terms of its lease. Symphony would have stayed within the law by disposing of the chemicals at an approved site or by cleaning their cars and coaches at an authorised location.
Mathew Reed, who led the investigation for the Environment Agency, said: “Incidents like this have the potential to have a serious and long-term impact on the health of the river. Symphony Chauffeurs Ltd was given repeated warnings about its activities. People might think we will find it too difficult to trace the cause of pollution, but this case proves that some detective work leads to a conviction. Identifying pollution through a complex network of drains can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. We have the skills and technology to do it.”