Law The public prosecutor has demanded a fine of 500,000 euros and compensation for environmental damage to the company Tereos, after the pollution of a river, in France and in Belgium
The entry of the magistrates, during the trial of the Tereos company, suspected of having polluted the Scheldt river, in April 2020. — G. Durand
Tereos is implicated in the pollution of the Scheldt and the death of hundreds of tons of fish in 2020. During the trial which is held at Lille, the prosecution demanded, this Friday, a fine of 500,000 euros and the obligation to “repair the damage” environmental to; against the sugar producer. He also asked; a “penalty payment of 2,000 euros per day” in the event of non-compliance with the obligation within two years.
However, “derisory” in view of those claimed by the civil parties (around 20 million euros, including 17 million requested by Wallonia), the deputy prosecutor, Florian Pappo. “There was negligence, recklessness, non-compliance with regulations” who “contributed to increase the risk of an accident,” he pointed out. And “it will take years” to repair the damage.
“One of the 50 biggest polluters in France”
“Tereos is one of the 50 biggest polluters in France” ;Be even more respectful” laws, he insisted, blaming the group for trying to “dilute” responsibilities.
On the night of April 9 to 10, 2020, after the rupture of a basin dike at Escaudoeuvres, in the North, 100,000 m3 of blackish liquid (washing water from beets) were spilled in particular into the Scheldt, a river crossing France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Hundreds of tons of dead fish had been found, the investigation concluding in the “decrease of 50% in the number of species and 90% in numbers”.
A weakened dyke
Tereos, which owns the Béghin-Say brand, has been appearing since Thursday, in particular for spilling “a harmful substance in the waters”, but also for “setting” and “exploitation” without authorization of a “harmful” to water.
According to the investigation by the French Office for Biodiversity, the company did not “understand” the vegetation which made it impossible to check the condition of the dykes, nor the presence of burrows, which could weaken the structure. These problems had been on his mind. reported by a service provider in 2016.
Another “recklessness” 40,000 m3 of water in the one in question. And the company had not informed the status of the work carried out in 2017 to develop this basin.
The group recognizes localized pollution but disputes the criminal qualifications. He defended himself Thursday of “any negligence” on the maintenance of the dike which gave way. Judgment is due January 12.