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AWPR building firm fined £280,000 for river pollution

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The firm building the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route has been hit with a £280,000 fine for polluting rivers in the north-east.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, the consortium including Balfour Beatty, Morrison Construction and Carillion, was deemed at fault for a spate of silt pollution incidents on the rivers Don and Dee as well as some tributaries.

The group will also have to pay nearly £50,000 to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) to cover the cost of its investigation.

It is the biggest case since Sepa was given penalty powers without the need to take companies to court.

Terry A’Hearn, Sepa chief executive, said: “Every day Sepa works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we will respond robustly to organisations who fail to comply with environmental controls. “Every operator must comply.

“It’s right that the construction joint venture should offer this significant enforcement undertaking in recognition of the environmental impact of their actions, which resulted in a series of silt pollution incidents impacting numerous tributaries to Aberdeenshire rivers, the Dee and the Don.

“An enforcement undertaking not only compels those who breach the law to make amends, it instils a more positive working relationship based on understanding the duty we all share in safeguarding our natural environment.”

The cash will be split up between community groups, with one of the biggest beneficiaries being the Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board which will receive £150,000 to fund pollution improvement projects.

Richard Gledson, chairman of Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, said: “Silt pollution from the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route gave us great cause for concern, particularly as the River Dee is designated as a special habitat for both salmonid fish and fresh water pearl mussels, which rely on a delicate eco-system to feed and spawn.

“We welcome both the immediate response by Sepa, including the temporary restriction of construction activity, their investigation, and today’s enforcement undertaking.

“This will provide for environmental improvements that will go some way to offsetting the impact on local communities and the environment.”

Transport Scotland said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and have been working closely with Sepa and the contractor, Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL), to ensure the watercourses on site are protected from construction activities.”

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