Welsh Water Authority v Williams Motors (Cwmdu) Ltd: QBD 1 Dec 1988

Oil was supplied to Williams Motors by Autobrec Oils and there was spillage from an offset fuel pipe out of sight of the delivery driver. Some of the spilt oil got into the storm drainage, and thus into a canal. Williams Motors were charged under section 32(1)(a) with causing or knowingly permitting the discharge into relevant waters. The magistrates were not satisfied that they had caused the pollution.
Held: The prosecutor’s appeal failed. Lloyd LJ said: ‘The question is not what was foreseeable by the respondents or anyone else: the question is whether any act on the part of the respondents caused the pollution.’


Lloyd LJ


Times 05-Dec-1988


Control of Pollution Act 1974 32(1)(a)


England and Wales


AppliedAlphacell Ltd v Woodward HL 3-May-1972
The defendant operated a paper manufacturing plant which involved maintaining tanks of polluting liquid near the river, so that pollution would occur if they overflowed. There were pumps which ought normally to have drawn off the liquid and . .

Cited by:

ApprovedNational Rivers Authority v Wright Engineering Co Ltd QBD 19-Nov-1993
Escape following vandalism was not ’caused’ by the company. It was not foreseeable. Although there had been past incidents of vandalism at the defendant’s premises, ‘the vandalism involved was not reasonably foreseeable because it was out of all . .
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 . .
CitedExpress Ltd v The Environment Agency QBD 15-Jul-2004
The dairy appealed its conviction for allowing cream to enter a brook from the land of its customer.
Held: Polluting matter did not need to be itself noxious or poisonous, it was enough that it stained or tinted the water as did cream. Though . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.190107