Why does my company need Pollution Liability Insurance for contractors?
If you’re a contractor, site owner or developer working in a trade that could potentially cause pollution (and therefore accidents or injuries) you need to strongly consider Contractors Pollution Liability Insurance.
It’s easy for contractors to wrongly believe that compensation claims for pollution would fall on the contracting company – but in reality, fault can be found on either, or both, sides.
A demolition contractor working on a site could fill voids with unviable and illegal material containing harmful pollutants such as asbestos. If these were to cause harm to people or animals, the contractor could be sued.
A residential buildings contractor contracted to build storage lagoons could allow polluted water from a construction site to contaminate a watercourse.
In both these cases, it may well not have been the contractor’s choice to cause the pollution. It could have resulted as a consequence of unforeseen natural occurrences, such as heavy rainfall or misleading information.
The Environment Agency has reported that the construction Industry is responsible for nearly a third of all industry-related pollution incidents in the UK. On their website they report a recent case in which both the contracting entity and its contractor suffered heavy losses:
United Utilities Water Limited (UU) has been fined £600,000 and its contractor, KMI+ £333,000 at Bolton Crown Court on Friday 24 June 2016 after pleading guilty to polluting a brook.
Both companies were also ordered to pay a total of £45,262 in costs (United Utilities £19,090 and KMI+ £26,172) following a prosecution by the Environment Agency.
The court heard how KMI+ was contracted by UU to carry out improvement works at Wayoh water treatment works at Turton Bottoms. In December 2013, as part of the works, KMI + emptied and removed a tank which had been used to store sodium hypochlorite in 10% solution. Sodium hypochlorite is used in the water purification process and is also the principle ingredient of household bleach. It is very corrosive and is highly toxic to aquatic organisms.’