A health food company in Ayrshire has been fined £75,000 in a Scottish first for failing to install equipment to detect leaks of fluorinated gas (F-gas).
DSM Nutritional Products, which has a factory in Dalry, reported more than eight times the reporting threshold of F-gas – amounting to almost 900kg of CO2 equivalent.
It received the first penalty to be issued in Scotland under regulations which have been in force since 2015.
According to enforcement agency Sepa, the release – which made DSM one of Scotland’s three biggest polluters – was caused by a leak in four of the firm’s water chillers.
Jamie McGeahy, the carbon reduction, energy and industry unit manager at Sepa, said: “The scale of the environmental challenge facing humanity is enormous, with a need for a real urgency to act.
“The F-gas regulations aim to reduce the use of HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants, through better control of their containment in existing applications and their recovery for recycling or destruction – and compliance with them is not optional.
“The requirement to install a leak detection system first came into force in 2006, which means the company was non-compliant for 14 years before this leak happened.
“It is simply unacceptable for industries that use greenhouse gases to fail to meet their environmental responsibilities.
“This civil penalty demonstrates Sepa’s commitment to enforcing obligations under the F-Gas Regulations and I hope it serves as a warning to any operator using F-gases.”
A spokesperson for DSM said: “Safety, health and environment are top priorities at dsm-firmenich. We wholly regret this unintentional breach of regulations. When it came to light, we took immediate steps to correct the situation by installing an automatic leak detection system on our chiller units. We also focused on preventing further emissions, which were caused by a one-off equipment failure rather than a systemic issue.
“As a business, we take our commitment to the local and global environment incredibly seriously. dsm-firmenich endeavours to contribute positively towards positive environmental change in Scotland. As part of our ongoing investment programmes, we are committed to phasing out all F-Gases on site at Dalry by 2030.”