Co Fermanagh farmer fined £750 for polluting a waterway

Date published: 14 March 2023

County Fermanagh farmer, Kevin Leonard (37), of Kesh Road, Irvinestown was convicted today at Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court for the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway.

Mr Leonard pleaded guilty and was fined £750 plus £15 Offenders Levy.

The Court heard that on 16 June 2022 Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of farm effluent entering the Hollow River at Lisnarick, Irvinestown. The WQIs attended the area where they discovered what appeared to be silage effluent impacting the Hollow River for approximately 1km. The WQI observed silage effluent seeping from silage bales, flowing across the yard before entering the Hollow River, via an overflow pipe on the farm.

In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample of the active discharge was collected and analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway. Effluents of this nature enrich fungus coverage on the bed of the watercourse which may lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites, as well as starving both fish and river invertebrates, on which fish feed, of oxygen. Effluents with high ammonia content, as in this case, are also directly toxic to fish life in receiving watercourses.

Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800 80 70 60.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Kevin Leonard was fined £750 and charged under Article 7(1)(a) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 as amended by the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order, for the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway on 16 June 2022.
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