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Eavis apologises for Glastonbury river pollution

The leak from a sewage tank killed 42 fish, including the protected brown trout, heard a jury at Yeovil Magistrates' Court

By IQ on 18 Jan 2016

Glastonbury Festival 2011, Jas Wood

image © Jas Wood

Michael Eavis has apologised for a “freak accident” which saw large amounts of human waste from Glastonbury Festival pollute a nearby river.

The 80-year-old founder of the festival pled guilty to a charge of breaching environmental regulations at Yeovil Magistrates’ Court on 14 January. Prosecutor Kieran Martyn told the court that a giant tank used to hold sewage from the toilets sprung a leak at the 2014 festival, causing an “extensive impact” which “extended for at least 4km downstream”. He also alleged that the leak killed 42 fish, among them the protected brown trout.

Speaking outside the court, Eavis said: “I’m trying to save the environment and trying to protect all these species. [While] I’m obviously very, very sorry for what’s happened, it wasn’t entirely my fault.”

The £100,000 tank had been bought five years previously and had a life expectancy of around 15 years, reports the Bristol Post.

District judge David Taylor will now preside over a Newton hearing (a legal procedure in which the two sides present their evidence and a judge tries to decide which one is telling the truth) before sentencing.

A giant tank used to hold sewage from the toilets sprung a leak at the 2014 festival, causing an “extensive impact” which “extended for at least 4km downstream”

“Throughout its long history, Glastonbury Festival has fully and publicly committed to sustaining and improving the environment where the festival takes place, alongside a policy of reducing the impact of the festival’s 200,000 attendees on the wider environment, particularly in regard to emissions, discharges, vehicle movements and noise pollution,” said festival organisers in a statement issued after the hearing.

“The festival has also worked closely with its major charity partners, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid, since the 1980s to raise awareness of global environmental issues and highlight innovative and practical solutions.

“Regretfully however, during the last two festivals (in 2014 and 2015) some pollution has unintentionally made it into the stream running through the site, due to issues including a faulty tank and through festivalgoers urinating on the land.

“With the causes already identified and analysed, Glastonbury Festival continues to work with all stakeholders, including the Environment Agency, on ways to prevent and safeguard against any problems in the future.

“Substantial improvement work on the site’s infrastructure has already begun and will continue over the coming months. At the same time, the festival will again work rigorously with all of its contractors and staff to raise awareness of the environmental issues involved and the importance of preventing further incidents.

“Working alongside our charitable partners, these important messages about protecting the land will also be shared with the festival’s ticketholders as we continue our work to reduce the hestival’s impact on the environment.”

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