A NATIONWIDE construction firm has been fined nearly half a million pounds for failing to prevent "pollution" in Pontypool.

Housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey has been fined £488,772 after failing to implement appropriate measures to prevent pollution in the River Llwyd and its tributaries in Pontypool, in 2021.

However, the firm have argued that there was "no evidence of actual harm having been caused".

The construction company was found guilty of a charge relating to breaches in Environmental Permitting Regulations at Cwmbran Magistrates Court earlier today (May 3)

A pollution offence caused by illegal water discharge activities occurred at the Edlogan Wharf site, situated along Bevan Road, Sebastopol, Pontypool between January and October in 2021.

Inspections carried out by officers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) revealed that the pollutant was caused by water run-off from the site, which had been contaminated with silt.

NRW officers met on site with the representatives of Taylor Wimpey in February 2021, to discuss the necessary permit application requirements and mitigation measures that needed to be implemented in order to minimise the risk of pollution.

A warning letter was served to Taylor Wimpey on February 23 and May 13.

During a follow-up visit on October 29, water samples obtained and analysed by NRW officers revealed a significant increase in the levels of suspended solids.

This can have a negative impact on fish and other invertebrates, clogging their gills and reducing light penetration in the water.

Silty water from construction sites can also contain chemicals - such as fuel and oil from machinery or generators which can also have a detrimental impact on the environment. 

Susan Lenthall, Environment Officer for Natural Resources Wales said: “The construction industry has a duty of care to the communities in which they operate, to ensure the correct controls and safeguards are in place in order to prevent incidents such as these occurring.

“In this case, Taylor Wimpey were made fully aware by NRW officers of the requirements that were needed to install effective silt mitigation methods.

“I hope this fine will send out a clear message that environmental legislation is to be taken seriously.”

Taylor Wimpey was was fined £480,000 in fines, as well as being ordered to pay £181 surcharge and £8,591.40 in costs bringing the total fines to £488,772.40. 

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: “We accept today’s outcome and are pleased the judge recognised that Taylor Wimpey takes it responsibilities seriously including our full cooperation with Natural Resources Wales as well as our proactive attempts to manage this isolated issue.”

“Despite our diligent efforts to prevent and remedy surface water issues, including proactive steps based on specialist advice from environmental experts, Taylor Wimpey recognises that these efforts were not sufficient to mitigate the impact of heavy rainfall and adverse weather conditions impacting the site.

"Whilst there is no evidence of actual harm having been caused, Taylor Wimpey expresses genuine regret for the potential environmental problems this issue could have caused.”