A major developer has been fined £120,000 for polluting a stream during building work on a new housing estate at Lindley Moor.
At Leeds Magistrates’ Court the firm admitted one charge of causing illegal discharges from its Farriers Croft estate off Crosland Road in 2015.
The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency.
The court was told that officers visited the site in November 2015 and saw polluted water flowing out of the entrance of the site.
The company was also pumping silt contaminated water from site excavations which also entered the watercourse.
Rosalind Emsley-Smith, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court following the Environment Agency’s visit, Harron Homes attempted to control the silt run-off by setting up settlement tanks but subsequent inspections revealed that this system was inadequate.
Silty water was found to be discharging, resulting in further pollution.
Samples taken from the discharges showed there to be nearly 35,000 milligrams of suspended solids per litre of water, whereas a healthy watercourse is expected to have a concentration lower than 30 milligrams per litre.
In mitigation, Harron Homes told the court that it had now put procedures in place to prevent future pollution incidents.
In addition to the £120,000 fine, the company was ordered to pay £8,706.71 in legal costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the case Mark West, environment management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “These pollution incidents had a significant impact on the water environment over a number of weeks, and were entirely avoidable.
“In West Yorkshire there has been a worrying increase in the number of pollution incidents reported to us that on investigation are attributable to the construction sector.
“Construction companies should consider the potential environmental impact of developments they undertake at the initial planning stage and must adhere to environmental permitting rules and invest in appropriate management systems to prevent their activities from affecting the local environment.
“If anyone spots pollution of this kind, they are urged to contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”
The Examiner previously reported how local residents made a number of complaints about the Farriers Croft site in 2015 and 2016.
People complained about drainage problems, mud on the road and traffic delays.
Kirklees Council issued a temporary ‘stop notice’ ordering the firm to make improvements over how it was operating.