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The EA has been granted new powers to fine golf clubs that pollute, writes Tim Earley

Are you aware of the recent strengthening of current criminal legislation? Have you heard about the new additional civil powers granted to the Environment Agency (EA)? If not, read on...

This new legislation signals a hardening of attitude by the regulator in ensuring environmental compliance, which I think we can assume is part of a coordinated policy to ensure compliance with the Water Framework Directive implementation timetable.

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The Environment Agency’s ‘compliance egg-timer’ is definitely running, so if you haven’t acted yet to ensure environmental compliance, I suggest the sooner you review your golf course maintenance operations, the better!

By their very nature, golf course maintenance operational activities are likely to cause pollution. Activities, including equipment refuelling, chemical handling and equipment wash-off, all pose a significant potential pollution risk, so it is very important controls are in place to minimise this risk. It is a criminal offence to allow certain substances, including mineral oils, detergents and chemicals, to enter surface drains, watercourses or soakaways, causing groundwater pollution.

The EU Water Framework Directive has been running in the background since its introduction in 2009, ‘pulling together’ the mass of earlier piecemeal environmental legislation (pollution prevention guidelines and so on). This directive had an implementation period of six years, with full implementation required by 2015.

As we are already nearly half-way through the ‘grace’ period allowed, if you have not acted yet, time is beginning to run out to ensure environmental compliance.

The Environment Agency has been granted new civil powers to assist its efforts in ensuring responsible environmental management. These new civil powers were effective from January 4, 2011 and complement existing regulatory powers.

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The new sanctions now available to the agency include a Variable Monetary Penalty (VMP) of up to £250,000.

. It is anticipated that these new powers will give the regulator more clout for less outlay, increasing the flexibility of the Environment Agency and enabling it to become more proactive in monitoring and dealing with pollution incidents. “Variable Monetary Penalties may be used instead of criminal sanctions for offences where imposing a financial penalty may change offender behaviour and deter others and / or lead to faster resolution,” said a spokesman.

In addition to the new civil powers granted, the county court criminal fine limit for fines imposed under the existing criminal sanctions has been increased from £20,000 to £50,000.

A major innovation to guarantee the removal of any risk of groundwater pollution from golf course maintenance activities has been introduced by a company called Waste2Water.

In addition to providing a superb wash facility, the Recycling Wash-Off System treats the potential pollutants arising from golf course maintenance operations. Equipment wash-off, refuelling, degreasing, chemical mixing and any other potentially polluting activities can all be undertaken on the pad, removing any risk of groundwater pollution arising from the routine activities of the maintenance facility.

Installing a Waste2Water system could not be easier, often retro-fitting into an existing area to minimise the budget. The recycling system ensures environmental compliance, reduces water usage by a massive 90 per cent and tidies up one of the worst aspects of golf course maintenance. Three in one can’t be bad!

So, if you are considering upgrading your facilities, just give us a call and we’ll do the rest!

Tim Earley is managing director of Waste2Water.
If you would like further information on the Waste2Water system or a copy of the pollution prevention guidelines, tel: 01782 373 878 or email: info@waste2water.com

Tim Earley


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