Abattoir bosses defend company

Directors at a Shropshire family-run abattoir business which was fined £100,000 for allowing chemicals to run off in to surrounding sewers have defended their company.

Euro Quality Lambs' offices in Craven Arms
Euro Quality Lambs' offices in Craven Arms

Euro Quality Lambs of Craven Arms was handed the fine last Friday after pleading guilty to breaches of water release levels.

Speaking after being fined by magistrates in Worcester, the board of directors at EQL said: "As a family business, we have built a reputation based on achieving the highest quality and service standards.

"Since 2013, we have invested over £200,000 in new equipment to improve our wash-water treatment facilities. We are disappointed by this failure in our processes and have taken significant steps to further improve our wash-water treatment facilities. We will continue to invest and improve our processes on-site.

"We play an active role in our local community. We take pride in being a part of a thriving rural economy and look forward to continuing that relationship."

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The business is a lamb and sheep abattoir capable of processing 15,000 carcasses a week and exports across Europe.

The breach of levels was found after teams from Severn Trent's waste business worked to trace where increased levels of phosphorus and ammonia found at Craven Arms sewage treatment works had originated. They traced it back to EQL's site in Dale Street in Craven Arms.

The fine was split between failed samples taken at the sewage works. Magistrates decided the phosphorous release was the biggest failure and awarded the highest fine of £20,00 for this. Two further fines were imposed for the same sample at £5,000 each. The second sample was categorised as 'reckless culpability' having taken three additional failed samples in to consideration. This resulted in a £70,000 fine.

Severn Trent was awarded costs of £11,000.

James Jesic of Severn Trent said: "We have a duty to protect our works, our customers and the environment and big fines like this send out a message to any business contemplating doing something similar.

On the EQL website, it states: "We are a family business that has built its reputation around meeting the needs of our customers. Our motto says it all ‘No Compromise on Quality and Service’. All slaughtering is carried out under full-time supervision of a veterinary officer, as well as the Meat Hygiene Service. We carry out halal slaughter in accordance with strict Islamic rites."

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