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Welsh ‘super-dairy’ fined more than £44,000 for spilling slurry

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One of the biggest dairy farms in Wales has pleaded guilty to polluting a nearby stream.

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Llaneli Magistrates Court judge said there was ‘a strong smell of slurry’.
Llaneli Magistrates Court judge said there was ‘a strong smell of slurry’.
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Welsh ‘super-dairy’ fined more than £44,000 for spilling slurry

Llanelli Magistrates Court heard Howell and Susan Richards, who farm 1,800 cows at Cwrt Malle Ltd, plead guilty to five counts of contaminating Fernhill Brook, Catmarthen with slurry.

 

Natural Resources Wales tested downstream from the couple’s farm, finding evidence the water was ‘discoloured and foaming, with a strong odour present’.

 

It came after an earlier visit from the NRW heard Mr Richards promise to pump out the farms slurry lagoon, which was ‘full to capacity’.

 

Prosecutor John Tarrant told the court: “I believe this is one of, if not the largest dairy farm in Wales.

 

Above safe levels

“On December 27, NRW attended in response to a call because Fernhill was discoloured and there was a large amount of foaming. There was a strong smell of slurry.”

 

Analysis discovered the pollution was well above safe levels for oxygen in the water, known as ’Biochemical Oxygen Demand’ (BOD).

 

BOD levels at Fernhill Brook were recorded at 5,178, compared to a level of three set by EU standards.

 

Aled Owen, who was representing Mr and Mrs Richards, excused the incident saying it was due to high rainfall. He argued the farm was ‘very well run and modern’.

 

The couple had previously denied a further charge at a hearing on April 28 after being fined £5,000 for a similar offence in 2013.

 

They have been ordered to pay a £36,000 fine, £8,500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

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