Grampian fined £16K for feather blockage

Grampian Country Chickens has been fined £16,000 for blocking a sewage works with chicken feathers and backing up a town's sewage system.

Perth Sheriff Court heard that the factory in Cougar, Angus, exceeded its waste limits three times in three months, due to "human errors".

Fiscal depute, Robbie Brown, said: "The first one, on 7 July last year, was caused by human error, in so much as a tank was left unattended and overflowed."

The mistake happened just six weeks after the company was fined £10,000 for an identical offence."

Brown said there were a further two instances and Scottish Water estimated the cost of the damage and repair amounted to £30,000.

The second problem occurred four days after the first when a worker put the wrong kind of polymer into the tank to break down the chicken remains.

Then, on 1 October, employees put large volumes of chicken feathers down the drainage system, which blocked the pipes.

Marshalls Food Group, trading as Grampian Country Chickens, admitted breaching the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 between 4 July and 1 October last year.

Solicitor Malcolm Gunnyeon, defending, said the company had invested £250,000 in the past four years to try to prevent problems in future.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: "While I accept the three incidents were caused as a result of human error, nonetheless, the consequences of the errors could be quite significant."

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