UK Appeals Court Upholds Ineos Spill Fine
A UK court of appeals in London has upheld a fine of £166,650 imposed by the Chester Crown Court on Ineos Chlor Vinyls in June 2015 for releasing caustic soda into the Manchester Ship Canal from its production complex at Runcorn.
Ineos had appealed the fine relating to an incident in January 2012, despite admitting it had breached its environmental permit. While lawyers for the subsidiary of the Switzerland-based chemical giant said the fine was “disproportionate” to the crime, as the company had no previous convictions, the sentencing judge said it was “only a pinprick” in Ineos’ finances.
In the incident, the PVC starting material was being loaded through a filter onto a ship berthed in the canal when the filter burst. Nearly 4 t of the chemical was discharged onto the jetty and 500 liters into the canal, the court report said. Ineos blamed a manufacturing design defect for the spill.
The sentencing judge found only a “moderate degree of negligence” on the part of the company, but said the filter was an important piece of equipment that had not been inspected upon purchase.