Farming Ranks Second on DEFRA List of Serious Polluters

August 22, 2013

Recent figures published by DEFRA found that agriculture was responsible for nearly 15% of all serious pollution incidents in the UK in financial year 2010-11, just behind the waste management industry at 19%.* Despite this, you may find some insurance policies only include very limited environmental damage cover.

Patricia Jones, Executive Director and Head of Rural at CLA Insurance explains the risks and makes some recommendations on how to protect your business.

“Many day-to-day farming activities could lead to damage under the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD). This brings a greater focus on everyone who owns or works on land to prove that they are acting in an environmentally responsible way and increases the likelihood of future prosecutions.

If a pollution incident occurs and you are deemed responsible, there may be no limit on the costs to put it right. In extreme circumstances, this could run into millions of pounds and, in the worst case scenario, force bankruptcy”.

In response to growing customer demand for adequate protection, CLA Insurance has developed a new policy for landowners, which includes broad pollution cover as standard”.

CLA Insurance recommends that you think about:


“To ensure you don’t have to make the difficult choice between a potentially expensive standalone policy and potentially being uninsured, speak to CLA Insurance who can provide advice on the right approach to protecting against the rising cost of pollution”. Contact us.

* Source

Example 1

The Environment Agency issued a warning after liquid fertiliser contaminated a 13.5km stretch of river and killed hundreds of fish. This happened when a tractor towing a bowser carrying the fertiliser tipped over into a ditch, which led to a tributary and then to a river.

This had a significant effect on the environment and wildlife as well as having the potential to harm human health and, of course, the reputation of the farmer responsible***.

Example 2

The owners of a dairy farm were ordered to pay fines and costs for polluting a stream near a popular coastal beauty spot.

A member of the public contacted the Environment Agency after they saw pollution in a stream running through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and discharging into the sea at a stretch of coast popular with walkers and surfers.

The pollution was traced back to a nearby farm, where a slurry store was found to be over filled and leaking into the stream.

After an investigation, it was deemed that the pollution was not the result of poor management***.

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