The Environment Agency have issued the following statement with regards the recent pollution of Pocklington Beck.
“The reports of intermittent sediment contamination of Pocklington Beck have been investigated on a number of different occasions specifically over the last year.
The developments of ERYC Flood Alleviation Scheme, Persimmon Homes and Linden Homes have all been looked into.
We have worked with ERYC representatives providing advice and guidance, for the FAS, undertaken site meetings and have monitored the site and found no significant issues from the works. Sediment control measures have been deployed when required by the developer and pro-active management of works carried out, to reduce pollution risks.
Reports were received in July 2018 of direct dewatering of ground works from the Persimmon Homes development into Pocklington Beck. I attended site, assessed the situation and found that the company were dewatering areas of the site via a discharge direct to the Beck. The discharge was being made via sediment control measures (Silt Buster) and was not significantly high in sediment loading at the time of the visit. However, I deemed that there was an ongoing risk of a greater level of contamination being produced by the operation, if continued in its observed state. A review of the strategy for dewatering was undertaken with the site manager and the direct discharge to the Beck was halted. The dewatering was redirected to an area of scrub land which would act as a soak-away for the pumped water. The distance from the Beck and the vegetation on this land also helped prevent any suspended sediment reaching the watercourse. No further water quality issues have been observed from the Persimmon Homes development. However, following the most recent complaints both myself, a colleague and a representative from ERYC have separately assessed the water quality within Pocklington Beck on several occasions. No ongoing water quality issues have yet been observed.
Reports have been received recently regarding the Linden Homes development and dewatering into Pocklington Beck. I attended these reported incidents on two separate occasions. No dewatering of the site was being made to Pocklington Beck on either occasion. No issues were noted with the water quality within the Beck on these visits. Dewatering of one area to the east of the site was actively being undertaken during one visit via silt control measures, including silt busters and a settlement lagoon. The runoff from this lagoon was noted to be directed to an unnamed land drain/dyke which runs parallel to the course of Pocklington Beck and joins it south of the A1079. There were no issues noted with the quality of the water being discharged into the drain or the quality within the drain itself was good.
We have undertaken to investigate where able to, the reports of water quality problems within Pocklington Beck. We will continue to investigate where pollution is suspected from a new or existing development, although the scale of our investigation will be proportionate to the reported/observed impact and the environmental risk. We have previously investigated reports of pollution in Pocklington Beck and have confirmed our findings to any reporter’s, when feedback is requested. We will continue to assess any specific reports of pollution in Pocklington Beck, proportionate to the environmental risk presented and the evidence at our disposal.”