Update on investigation into pollution at Skeeby Beck, Gilling West, North Yorkshire

The request was partially successful.

Dear Environment Agency,

Please treat the following questions as a Freedom of Information Act request.

I would like any response to be made electronically wherever possible in spreadsheet form.
I am investigating the issues of pollution in the River Swale. As part of that, I would like an update on your investigation into the fish kill incident which happened at Skeeby Beck in April. (News story reporting at the time: https://www.richmondshiretoday.co.uk/doz...)
- What investigations have been carried out to date?
- What investigations are yet to be carried out?
- What is the Environment Agency’s timeline to conclude the investigations?
- When and how will you communicate your findings?
- Is there any prosecution pending?
- What are the Environment Agency’s next steps?
If you are only able to release some of the information I would ask that you release this data rather than withhold the entire set.

If you would like more clarification on this issue do not hesitate to contact me using this site - as I would expect to be contacted should you need any clarification.

Please can you confirm that you have received this request and I'd like to remind you that under the freedom of information act 2000 you are bound to respond in 20 days.

Yours faithfully,

Sarah Hartley

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

1 Attachment

RFI/2023/320623

 

Dear Sarah,

 

Re:  Dear Environment Agency,

Please treat the following questions as a Freedom of Information Act
request.

I would like any response to be made electronically wherever possible in
spreadsheet form.

I am investigating the issues of pollution in the River Swale

 

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

 

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 24 Jul 2023.

 

I am sorry that we have not yet provided you with the information that you
requested, thank you for your patience.

 

Unfortunately our response to your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) / Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR) is delayed.

 

We always aim to provide the best service we can, we are currently
directing our efforts to keeping critical operations running and playing
our part in the government’s efforts to deliver key public services. 

 

Please be assured that we will do our very best to deal with your query as
quickly as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Simon

 

Simon Parkinson

FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |

Working days: Monday to Friday

 

Please accept my thanks for your email in advance - each UK adult sending
one less ‘thank you’ email a day would save more than 16,400 tonnes of
carbon a year

 

 

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Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
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References

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Dear Simon, Thanks for your email. Could you tell me the likely timeframe of your full response please.
Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hartley

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Thank you for your email. The Environment Agency has received your
correspondence.

 

Standard response times

 

If your request for information falls under either the Freedom of
Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, we aim to
respond to you within 20 working days.

 

If your request is a general enquiry, we will respond to you as soon as
possible.

 

In the meantime you may want to visit our website at [1]Gov.uk  and
[2]data.gov.uk to see if there is information available that can assist
you. 

 

You can also view our [3]customer charter which provides information on
what you can expect from us and our full service commitment. 

 

For details on how we treat your personal information and how to check
what details we may have for you please read our [4]Personal Information
Charter.

 

Flood Risk and Support

 

If your query is related to flood risk and support during or after a
flood, there is information available on our website:
[5]https://www.gov.uk/help-during-flood and from the National Flood
Forum: [6]https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/

 

Environmental Incident

 

If your email was to report an environmental incident e.g. pollution, fish
in distress, dumping of hazardous waste, then please call our freephone
24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.   

 

For more details about incident reporting, please see our website:
[7]https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environment...

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unusually
challenging times.

 

Kind regards,

 

Yorkshire Customers and Engagement Team

[8][email address]

 

 

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

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4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
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6. https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/
7. https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environment...
8. mailto:[email address]

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Our Ref: RFI/2023/320623

 

Dear Sarah,

RE: I would like any response to be made electronically wherever possible
in spreadsheet form. I am investigating the issues of pollution in the
River Swale.

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 24 Jul 2023.
 

I can confirm that a pollution incident assessed as a Category 1 incident
in accordance with the Environment Agency’s Common Incident Classification
Scheme (“CICS”) was reported to the Environment Agency on 13 April 2023
following the release of the contents of a digestate store into Browson
Beck, a tributary of Skeeby Beck.  Category 1 denotes an incident with a
major impact and is the most serious level of pollution which reflects
both the level and extent of the impact on water quality during this
incident and its effect on the ecology of this important and valued
watercourse.

 

Our officers first attended the incident on the morning of 13 April 2023
to confirm the source of the pollution and to take water samples to assess
and evidence the impact on water quality and collect evidence of the
number of dead fish. Our officers also liaised with the operator of the
digestate store over the clean-up operation to minimise any further
release to the watercourse. Our ecologists attended the incident on 14
April 2023 to carry out ‘kick sampling’ to assess the impact on the
invertebrate life in the river. We have also carried out an
electro-fishing survey on the watercourse.

 

Our findings indicate that the environmental impact was major, extending
as far as the confluence with the River Swale several miles downstream.
Our findings also demonstrate a major effect on the fish population in the
watercourse. Our ecological surveys also show a severe effect on
invertebrates and other aquatic organisms immediately downstream of the
point of entry although this effect was minimal 1 km further downstream
where the watercourse is joined by Stalwath Beck and Dalton Beck. We found
no impact on invertebrate life by the bridge over Holme Beck at Hartforth,
some 6km downstream of the point of entry. Subsequently, 1000 grayling
were put into the beck on 31st May and we are considering options for
further restocking over the next couple of years.

 

The incident is subject to formal investigation by the Environment Agency;
which is on-going.

 

I hope that we have correctly interpreted your request.  Please see the
Open Government Licence ([1]here) for details of permitted use.

 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

If you require any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

 

Simon

 

Simon Parkinson

FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

Visible links
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Dear Simon,
Thanks for your reply. It's useful to have the background to this incident but I am trying to establish also the next steps. Please could you also provide some insight to my other questions to conclude this FOI. As a reminder they were:
What investigations are yet to be carried out?
- What is the Environment Agency’s timeline to conclude the investigations?
- When and how will you communicate your findings?
- Is there any prosecution pending?
- What are the Environment Agency’s next steps?
I look forward to hearing from you
Yours sincerely,

SarahHartley

Hi Simon, a gentle nudge that this is still outstanding and now very far outside the timeframe provided by law. Please could you provide the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hartley

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Thank you for your email. The Environment Agency has received your
correspondence.

 

Standard response times

 

If your request for information falls under either the Freedom of
Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, we aim to
respond to you within 20 working days.

 

If your request is a general enquiry, we will respond to you as soon as
possible.

 

In the meantime you may want to visit our website at [1]Gov.uk  and
[2]data.gov.uk to see if there is information available that can assist
you. 

 

You can also view our [3]customer charter which provides information on
what you can expect from us and our full service commitment. 

 

For details on how we treat your personal information and how to check
what details we may have for you please read our [4]Personal Information
Charter.

 

Flood Risk and Support

 

If your query is related to flood risk and support during or after a
flood, there is information available on our website:
[5]https://www.gov.uk/help-during-flood and from the National Flood
Forum: [6]https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/

 

Environmental Incident

 

If your email was to report an environmental incident e.g. pollution, fish
in distress, dumping of hazardous waste, then please call our freephone
24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.   

 

For more details about incident reporting, please see our website:
[7]https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environment...

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unusually
challenging times.

 

Kind regards,

 

Yorkshire Customers and Engagement Team

[8][email address]

 

 

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
2. https://data.gov.uk/
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
5. https://www.gov.uk/help-during-flood
6. https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/
7. https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environment...
8. mailto:[email address]

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Good afternoon Sarah,

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delayed response as I was away on leave. I have contacted our team with your follow-on points and will contact you as soon as possible with a response.

Many thanks,
Simon

FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |

show quoted sections

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Good afternoon Sarah,

Thank you for your recent request for an update on our investigation into the pollution incident that occurred earlier this year on the Skeeby Beck.

As I'm sure you will understand, at this stage in the investigation, we cannot share any information that might jeopardise the outcome of any enforcement action.

However, I can tell you that our investigation is progressing. We continue to gather evidence and we are working with our legal team to build our case.

We will write to you with an update once we can share more information.

Kind regards,

Simon

Simon Parkinson
FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area
Environment Agency
Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174
Working days: Monday to Friday

show quoted sections

Dear Environment Agency,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Environment Agency's handling of my FOI request 'Update on investigation into pollution at Skeeby Beck, Gilling West, North Yorkshire'.

I have been told that there are legal issues with the request. I am well aware of the potential for prejudice but some of my questions could easily be answered without any such risk including how the decision on prosecution would be relayed.

Please review this decision, as there is no indication that a prejudice test has been conducted.
As you may be aware, the exemption you have applied requires you to conduct a prejudice test to demonstrate that there would be a "causal link" between the release of the requested information, and prejudice to one of the interests listed in this exemption. You must then go on to determine the likelihood of this prejudice arising were the information released.
You can find more information about prejudice tests in the ICO guidance at https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio....

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Yours faithfully,

Sarah Hartley

Parkinson, Simon, Environment Agency

2 Attachments

Good afternoon Sarah,

 

Please accept my apologies for the delay in acknowledging your email.
Please find the attached document confirming receipt of your email.

 

Many thanks,

 

Simon

 

Simon Parkinson

FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |

Working days: Monday to Friday

 

Please accept my thanks for your email in advance - each UK adult sending
one less ‘thank you’ email a day would save more than 16,400 tonnes of
carbon a year

 

 

[1][IMG]

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

Visible links
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Dear Simon,
I hope this email finds you well. As it has been a while, I wonder - do you have any update for me on this or an expected timeline on when that update might be available?

Yours sincerely,

SarahHartley

Parkinson, Simon, Environment Agency

Good afternoon Sarah,

Thanks for your email. The deadline date for the Internal Review is the 20th October, but if it is completed earlier I will of course send it on to you immediately. Therefore, we should be in contact with you again by the end of this week, at the latest.

Thank you for your patience and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many thanks,

Simon

Simon Parkinson
FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area
Environment Agency
Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |
Working days: Monday to Friday

Please accept my thanks for your email in advance - each UK adult sending one less 'thank you' email a day would save more than 16,400 tonnes of carbon a year

show quoted sections

Parkinson, Simon, Environment Agency

2 Attachments

Our Ref: RFI/2023/327275

 

Dear Sarah,

RE: Internal Review relating to RFI: 320623 - Pollution at Skeeby Beck.
Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 22 September 2023.
 

Please find attached the response letter for the Internal Review.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Simon

 

Simon Parkinson

FOI & EIR Lead Officer | Customer & Engagement Team | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174 |

Working days: Monday to Friday

 

Please accept my thanks for your email in advance - each UK adult sending
one less ‘thank you’ email a day would save more than 16,400 tonnes of
carbon a year

 

 

[1][IMG]

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

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Dear Simon,
Thanks for the response.
Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hartley

Dear Simon,
I hope alls well with you. As we approach the 1 year anniversary of this incident this weekend, I'm getting in touch to see if there is any action coming?

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hartley

NE Yorkshire, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Our Ref: RFI/2024/356142

 

Dear Sarah 

 

RE:  Pollution at Skeeby Beck.

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

 

Thank you for your enquiry received on 12^th April 2024 which has been
logged as a request for information. 

 

The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations
state that a public authority must respond to requests for information
within 20 working days.

 

You can find more information about our service commitment by clicking on
the link below:

 

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

 

You can contact the Yorkshire Customer Team directly on the contact
details below, or call the National Customer Contact Centre on 03708
506506 who will transfer you to the area team.

 

Customers and Engagement

Environment Agency, Yorkshire Area

Lateral, 8 City Walk

Leeds

LS11 9AT

 

[2][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

Customers and Engagement Team
Environment Agency | Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds, LS11 9AT

Enquiries Team Tel: 020 847 48174 | Email:
[3][email address]

 

 

 

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

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3. mailto:[email address]

Edwards, Emma, Environment Agency

1 Attachment

Our Ref: RFI/2024/356142

 

Dear Sarah,

RE: Pollution at Skeeby Beck
Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 12/04/2024.
 

Unfortunately, we cannot provide any further significant updates – we are
still collating and assessing evidence, collecting witness statements, and
progressing the investigation with a view to prosecution, should our
evidence identify that polluting offences have taken place.

 

I hope that we have correctly interpreted your request.  Please see the
Open Government Licence ([1]here) for details of permitted use.

 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

If you require any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Edwards

Enquiries Officer | Enquiries Team | C&E Department  | Yorkshire Area

Environment Agency

[2][email address]

Enquiries Team Tel | 020 847 48174

Enquiries Team Email | [3][email address]

Work Number: +442030259674

 

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Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else. We
have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should
still check any attachment before opening it. We may have to make this
message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of
Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and
attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be
accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business
purposes.

References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://www.gov.uk/environment-agency