Glastonbury fined £12,000 for sewage leak – but Festival had ‘low culpability’

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has been ordered to pay a fine of £12,000 and costs of £19,000 for the environmental incident at the 2014 Festival which saw 20,000 gallons of human waste pollute a nearby river after a steel tank used to hold sewage from the toilets sprang a leak, seeping into Whitelake river and killing 42 fish, among them 29 bullhead – a European protected species and10 protected brown trout. The BBC reported that the Judge at the trial found Festival had low culpability for incident in 2014 that led to death of 42 fish in Whitelake river and is ‘impressed’ with its response to incident. The Environment Agency claimed during a hearing that the event had grown more quickly than its ability to deal with so much waste. The Judge said the Somerset festival could have contacted the authorities more quickly following the problem in June 2014, but said it had largely dealt with it well. The court was told that Glastonbury used three very large steel tanks to store human waste from the site, which had a population of 170,000 during the 2014 event. One of the tanks sprung a leak in one…

Glastonbury admits sewage discharge
Environmental Law , Live Events / February 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector     The Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. CMU Daily reports that Michael Eavis and the Festival’s Operations Director, Christopher Edwards, both appeared in court in Yeovil after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency. Accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, the Festival challenged the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. Representing the festival, Kerry Gwyther said an environmental report found the stream had a history of being of a “poor quality”. Of the 42 dead fish, 39 were recorded downstream and only 10 of these were brown trout, he said.They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on the Festival’s turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax. The Festival donates a large proportion of its annual profit to charity with three lead charities, Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam all receiving six figure sums. In a statement, the Festival acknowledged the…

Glastonbury faces sewage charges
Environmental Law , Live Events / January 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Live events sector   Local press reports says that the Glastonbury Festival is being prosecuted after failures in the way the event deals with the thousands of gallons of human urine and excrement. The charges stem from the 2014 Festival, the first year the majority of the toilets on the site were specially-built long drop toilets, which collected the waste in huge underground concrete tanks.  Organiser Michael Eavis had earlier that year said the Festival had plans to store human waste on site and convert this to fertiliser for farmland (although not for Worthy Farm itself).   It is understood the charges relate to the numbers of people urinating into hedgerows, with the Environment Agency closely monitoring the pollution levels in the stream that flows through the Worthy Farm site.   Operations Director Christopher Edwards appeared before Magistrates in Yeovil to represent the company, and faced a charge that on or before June 29, 2014 at the Glastonbury Festival, ‘otherwise that under, and to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, caused or knowingly permitted a water discharge activity or groundwater activity, namely the discharge of human sewage derived from the Glastonbury Music Festival’, breaching the  Environmental Permitting…

Leaflet rules ‘catastrophic’ for small venues and comedy
Environmental Law , Live Events / December 2012

ENVIRONMENT Live sector   A letter in the Daily Telegraph from over 100 signatories including comedian Al Murray, Radiohead manager Brian Message, Live Nation boss Paul Latham and promoter Harvey Goldsmith says that comedy nights, arts festivals and local music venues are being driven out of business by councils demanding hefty fees for the right to hand out leaflets with campaigners saying that the cost of licensing is having “catastrophic” effect on the arts. Around one in three councils restrict leafleting, with charges running to hundreds of pounds per day. The letter points out that a licence to hand out flyers in Basildon on a Saturday costs £350 – although many find the practice itself annoying with one commentator saying “comedy nights, arts festivals and local music venues are probably the biggest producers of litter and detritus in our communities” which councils then have to clear up, and others pointing out that digital solutions such as e-flyers and social networking are a much cleaner solution. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 allows local authorities to designate areas “where it is satisfied that the land is being defaced by the discarding of free printed matter” (or litter!) where a licence…

Could musicians fall foul of US environmental law?

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Artistes A US senator has made it his mission to save musicians from a federal environmental law that could be cited to confiscate the instruments of US performers travelling abroad for the summer concert season? Republic Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee (its capital is Nashville, better known as Music City) says that the law should be clarified or ‘tweaked’ if necessary.   “I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” Alexander said in a statement. Why seize guitars? Because many of those instruments are made from exotic woods that were outlawed by a 2008 amendment to the century old  Lacey Act, an amendment Alexander himself proposed, by adding wood and forest products to Act, which was  first passed to protect endangered birds whose feathers were being used to decorate womens’ hats,   However, he now seemingly accepts that the law was not meant to apply to musical instruments made pre-2008 and wants to create a ‘safe harbour’ for instruments made before that date – saying “the law was never intended to apply to those instruments”. It’s no secret that American timber companies were being…