Regina v CPC (UK) Ltd, CPC (UK) Ltd v National Rivers Authority: CACD 4 Aug 1994

The defendant operated a factory, using cleaning liquid carried through PVC piping. The piping leaked because it had been badly installed by the reputable subcontractors employed by the previous owners of the factory.
Held: Although the defendants were unaware of the existence of the defect and ‘could not be criticised for failing to discover it,’ the pollution had nevertheless been caused by their operation of the factory. So the fact that the negligent installation of the pipes had been unforeseeable was no defence. Liability for river pollution is strict. It existed even where the owner had no knowledge of a leak in a pipe put in before he acquired the land. Whether he had caused the pollution remained a question of fact for the jury.
Lloyd LJ
Independent 30-Aug-1994, Times 04-Aug-1994, [1994] Env LR 131
Water Resources Act 1991 85(1) 209
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedEmpress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority HL 22-Jan-1998
A diesel tank was in a yard which drained into a river. It was surrounded by a bund to contain spillage, but that protection was over ridden by an extension pipe from the tank to a drum outside the bund. Someone opened a tap on that pipe so that . .

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Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.86463