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Moves to improve air quality in towns and cities

The scheme will include cities such as Southampton Credit: PA

There are calls for all local authorities to be given the power to charge drivers for entering towns and cities, to improve air quality. In December the Environment Department published details on bringing in clean air zones in cities like Southampton by 2020. It's aimed at discouraging the most polluting vehicles.


Thames Water fined over sewage leak

Thames Water has been fined more than £27,000 for causing the pollution of a river in Surrey

The incident saw a pipe burst in a field behind Walton Lane sewage pumping station in Weybridge and flooded the field with sewage, which then entered the Engine River.

The company admitted the offence at Staines Magistrates Court on Friday May, 24.

The company was fined £18,000, ordered to pay costs of £9,764.15 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Thames Water was advised by the Environment Agency to contain the spilt sewage with sandbags and removal of sludge from the top of the river.

However, the court heard how Thames Water did not make enough effort to contain the pollution and affecting over 1.2 kilometres of the river.

Rivers and water courses are an important part of the environment; they offer an essential resource for wildlife, fisheries and recreation. It is distressing when incidents such as this one occur and cause fairly significant environmental damage, with several hundred fish killed by this sewage spill.

The prosecution and fining of Thames Water sends a clear message to other companies that if you fail in your environmental responsibilities you may be prosecuted.

– Marie De Viell, Environment Agency Solicitor

2,400 birds killed in "worst pollution incidents in decades"

More than 2,400 birds were killed in two chemical leaks off the south coast in February and April. The RSPCA say it's one of the worst marine pollution incidents in decades and was caused by boats discharging a substance called polyisobutene, also known as PIB, in the sea.

To date 18 species of birds have been affected, the majority being guillemots and most washed up in Dorset. The death toll exceeds that of the Napoli incident off the coast of Devon in 2007.

Adam Grogan from the RSPCA said: “The dumping at sea of this lethal chemical must be stopped.