Saturday, April 01, 2006


What do we know about the emissions of dioxins, a most dangerous substance known to man, at Rugby cement? NOT A LOT! They test only TWICE a year, for a few hours, and for the other 8,750 hours what do we know? Look what is going on at another typical cement plant:

During 2004, Castle Cement's 2 wet kilns (1 &2) and their dry kiln (3) managed to shunt out to air 38% of the total UK burden to air of Dioxins. Arising from that, and perhaps assisted by the fact that CANK and other interested parties were breathing down their necks, the Environment Agency eventually took legal action i.t.o. The Environmental Protection Act, 1990. 3 Counts of Dioxin Excess levels, 3 Counts of Failing to Report and 3 Counts of Failing to take the required Quarterly Samples. 19 other assorted counts were TIC'd. Two weeks back, Cas6tle pleaded Guilty. Outline of case and Mitigation were set for today.

Today, at Magistrates Court, Mold, Solicitor Mr. Evans presented the Env. Agency outline of case. He dealt with the recklessness that was inherent in Castle knowing for 9 months that their Dioxin test/sample results were unreliable and saying nothing about it to the Env. Agency. He set out the excesses, which were heavy. 17Ng over 1Ng in one sample and 114Ng over 1Ng in another and various in between. However, he then indicated that there was a report from the National Health Protection Service, supported by the Local Health Board, that advised that there would be no ill effect on the population because the loading was light, below daily teq and because Dioxins worked accumulatively and not by way of one single dose. (Um!!!)

After an over-long mitigation plea by Mr. Greenwood for Castle, and an adjournment for consideration, the Magistrates delivered the following sentence:

3 Counts of Dioxin Excess @ £12,000 each = £36,000
3 Counts of Fail to Report @ £12,000 each = £36,000
3 Counts of Fail to Sample @ £9,000 each = £27,000
Total = £99,000

To which they added Costs of £9,000 making a grand total of £108,000

All three of those old kilns, 1,2, and 3 were shut down in January to March of 2005. The new kiln 4 is under commissioning at this time. It has just smothered the local town of Buckley with a powder dusting due to a system failure and is battling to get NOx levels down to the authorised 500Mg/NM3 and has not yet got around to trying to burn any alternative fuels.

Today, a major polluter got a slap on the wrist. For a company with turnover around £170 million and profit of around £13 million, the fine is not critical, but neither is it insignificant. What it might do is to make them wake up their ideas and sharpen their act i.t.o. environmental responsibility.

That will be no bad thing - and long overdue, but in the meantime no one knows what the health impact is of these excess emissions.

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