Monday, December 22, 2008



Advertiser Editor's Viewpoint:
QUOTE: "I really don't understand what is going on between Rugby Borough Council, the Environment Agency, and Cemex. The Environment Agency is, I believe, a GUTLESS WASTE OF TIME; the borough council is CONFUSED and UNSURE; and Cemex just want to get on with their business."

"I do feel quite certain that if anyone at Cemex truly believed that the company was poisoning the people of Rugby then they wouldn't be doing it. On the other hand to say that the release of material which is known to be toxic into the atmosphere is harmless is not taking community responsibility seriously. The fact is that any dust circulating in the air would be undesirable and may, over prolonged periods, be adverse to one's health."

"With questions over original permissions and historic problems, plus a responsibility to support local businesses, I don't think Rugby Councillors know which way to turn. I put the blame at the feet of the Environment Agency. They are the ones who are SUPPOSED to be POLICING these types of situations. They are supposed to be the GUARDIANS of PUBLIC SAFETY, but seem not to know their arses from their elbows. They say the latest blow out, by all accounts the worst for years, was NOT a breach of production or safety guidelines, but that they will act over one in March last year...URGH! Someone has to take charge of the situation and to get a grip. They need to make some few hard decisions once and for all, and then we can all get on with our lives without this continuous conflict. And one thing people have to realise is that Cemex is not just going to go away, and in many respects it would not be good if they did." UNQUOTE

RUGBY COUNCILLORS CONFUSED AND UNSURE? Three million tonnes a year of dust, cooked, and made into two million tonnes of other dust, makes DUST! All these TOXIC EMISSIONS are INEVITABLE, and permitted (Agency Permit BL7249IH August 2003 particulate , gases, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, thallium, lead, chromium, dioxins , PAH, etc) and are being emitted 24/7 and there is NOTHING anyone can do about it - except to move the plant into a RURAL AREA where it should be! Following on from the preceding unlawful IPC Permit September 1999 emissions come from the main 115 metre stack, (one million cubic metres each hour) and from the 18 Low Level Point Sources , (600,000m3/hour) as well as fugitives from various sources. In order to make 6,000 tonnes a day of cement Cemex needs to burn about 1,000 tonnes a day of various fossil and waste fuels to heat up the kiln to "cook" the approximately 6,000 tonnes of chalk ( solids in 40% sewage slurry) and clay , and various unspecified (no EU waste codes!) polluted industrial wastes as substitute raw materials , such as foundry sand, mill scale and slag etc. Inevitably the volatiles are driven off from this process, creating particulate/dust, with absorbed heavy metals, mercury, arsenic, volatile organic carbons etc in hundreds of tonnes a day of waste gas. The raw materials all contain these toxic pollutants (some more than others which is why the row is going on over the uses of so many tonnes of wastes instead the usual raw material) and they are driven off during the process, and some are what they call "safely bound up in the clinker" .

There is debate over this "safe binding" as then the clinker is ground into cement dust in the mills which vent nearer to the plant and residents due to the low stack heights. It is permitted to run the plant for many hours with no EMISSION LIMITS - such as on startups and shutdowns to 200 tph raw meal. The EA is powerless because this is what the permit IT HAS GRANTED says! So why do they not write a better permit? Which is what we suggested to the House of Lords. The old plant only ever burnt 50 tph so from that you can see the scale of the problem - the new plant is not even considered as "started and ready to be regulated" until four times more - at 200tph! They were also allowed dispensation under the WID permit for SEVENFOLD INCREASED emission limits on TOCs , and on sulphur, over and above the WASTE INCINERATOR DIRECTIVE limits, as they said the extra emissions were caused by the raw materials, and not from the waste burning. What difference does it make to the people on whom it falls as to whether the pollution comes from tyres, coal, or raw materials - it is still the same - POLLUTION!

* NO PUBLIC CONSULTATION ever for this plant !
* WHERE does it fall?
* WHO does it fall on?
* VULNERABLE receptors receive "UNINVITED DOSE."
* WHAT HEALTH IMPACT, long term - short term ?

In part the COURT CASES were all about whether the AGENCY should have told the TRUTH to the people, or just told them as little as possible about the emissions. The Lords decided overall, (although two were not happy about it) that the EA could hide the environmental information about the pollution, and how it will impact on people. The EA were "only in the breach of common law duty of fairness", and it would not have made a scrap of difference if they had have told the truth. (This is so obviously wrong as we could have asked for so many different better permit conditions, but instead we have years of experiments and slow so-called improvements, while emissions of some pollutants are actually increased.) The EA concealed the facts during the so-called "Tyres Consultation" - which should have included ALL ASPECTS of the emissions, and of the IPPC PERMIT - but the EA told everyone we could only discuss the "difference between main stack emissions with coal, and with tyres when the plant was under control " and "nothing else at all about emissions!" RMC, the EA and RBC Environmental Health office, who all misled, had the actual IPPC application, but instead of revealing it they all spent TWO YEARS trying to confuse everyone, and convince everyone, giving out misleading "tyre burning" documents and non-technical summaries, and holding SHAM public meetings in an attempt to "appear" open and honest, but in reality hiding the most important information. This follows on from the Agency's SECRETLY GIVEN permit of September 1999, but because the three colluded now Rugby Borough Council can do nothing, unless it comes clean and admits its part in the deception? RBC Councillors considered taking the JUDICIAL REVIEW against the Agency, but they could not because of what the officers (and some councillors?) had done. The reality is that the EA, RBC and Rugby Cement (and Warwickshire County Council also implicated) all knew there would be a permission for unquantifiable pollution, unmonitored, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, sometimes more, sometimes less, the same as at all cement plants , and that the local authority can do nothing about it as it is EXEMPT from the legislation. Slowly the truth will out, BUT WHAT, IF ANYTHING, CAN LEGALLY NOW BE DONE?

( QUOTE Rugby Advertiser 18 December)
A dust cloud that was ejected from Rugby Cement and covered homes and cars in Long Lawford on 17 November DID contain hazardous waste. But plant owners Cemex say it will not cause ANY health risks to people. (NB: Rugby residents are very tough?)

THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY has also come under fire for NOT RELEASING INFORMATION sooner, and then ONLY when it was asked by the Rugby Advertiser - and for saying that it will NOT take any action against Cemex for the dust fall-out which happened last month. (NB: not so much "will not" as "CANNOT" because during any startup and shut down however protracted no ELVs (emission limit values) apply, so the plant is basically unregulated and the EA are powerless for many hours a year, the number of which is another of the cement industry big secrets!) However the EA has said this week it will be taking legal action against the cement manufacturers for releasing dust onto homes 21 months ago. (NB: as featured this blog 18 July 2007 - 7 tonnes pulverised coal dust rained down, thickly coating property up to 3 miles away.)

"The EA and Cemex seem to be living on a DIFFERENT PLANET from the residents of Rugby! We are concerned about what was in the dust and we have asked them both to give us answers, but we have heard nothing. And now the EA say they will charge Cemex over an incident in March 2007 - talk about closing the stable door once the horse has bolted!" The RUGBY COMMUNITY CEMENT FORUM has this week made an official complaint about the EA, claiming it has shown NO INTEREST in Rugby matters by not answering its questions, and not attending meetings.

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY - Talking about the latest dust fall-out on 17 November - which many residents said was one of the worst in decades - the EA said the bypass dust released was MOSTLY the same as "normal clinker dust" but with a higher content of free lime, (caustic) calcium hydroxide and calcium sulphate, as well as some potassium and sodium sulphates. It went on to add that 'bypass dust is classed as hazardous because it is very alkaline' but 'not at levels likely to cause harm to the environment or human health.'

CEMEX UK's Community Affairs Manager Ian Southcott said the bypass dust was released as part of a safety measure when there is a build up of carbon monoxide. As this did not breach its permit with the EA NO LEGAL ACTION could be taken."This came as a result of the bypass electrostatic precipitator 'tripping' out due to the presence of carbon monoxide. This 'Best Available Technique for removing dust' is widely used across the cement industry and is a safety feature designed to remove any chance of an explosion." (so they save the plant and dump on us!)

CAR WASH FREE : after receiving complaints from residents the company did clean some of the affected cars - for free. Mr Southcott added the company were sorry that people were affected, but added "A small quantity of bypass dust over a large area would not cause any health hazards. We are operating under regulations in our permit and all the time we are improving emissions, but that IS NOT WHAT PEOPLE GET TO SEE! Bypass dust is classified under European regulations as HAZARDOUS due to the free lime content which can be an irritant to the skin during prolonged exposure. Essentially it is mainly partially heated raw material and consists largely of chalk. The analysis of the bypass dust collected at the time of the incident reveals tiny quantities of some metals and dioxins which are extremely low and are similar to the values that can be seen in naturally occurring raw materials such as clay and chalk."

"DIOXIN levels were below those naturally occurring in soils for example, and were less than 0.1% of a millionth of a gramme per kilogramme (0.0000000001 of a gramme).
An AIR QUALITY report prepared by Faber Maunsell for RBC concluded that during the 'time of the release' (not revealed) PM10 particulate concentrations were below the UK 24 hour mean PM10 standard throughout this period - i.e. the measurements were LESS than would be expected under NORMAL circumstances.!" (what does this mean, and where was the monitor??)

PETER CORNISH was one of the Long Lawford residents whose house and car was covered in the dust. He said "Cemex seem to do this on a regular basis, and get away with it, because the EA DO NOT SEEM TO BE BOTHERED! I know there will soon be another dust fall out - it is INFURIATING!"

So much for the EA' s (empty) promise of 5 December to share information with the forum and Rugby residents! At the RCCF meeting on 8 December Cemex vehemently denied bypass dust to be hazardous, and said they grind it in with the clinker in the cement mills. They also dump it at Cell 3 Southam, 140,000 tonnes in eight years - in a non-hazardous landfil - although they have applied to WCC to have this unauthorised dumping regularised - and a hazardous waste planning permission granted. Surely this bypass dust cannot be mixed into the "cement dust", the 5 mills and seperators emit onto Rugby at 30,000 micrograms in each cubic metre - can it? Yes it can! Meanwhile how are Cemex and the EA complying with the Environment Council's genuine and far reaching proposals to "move forward together" and to "begin by sharing information"? They are not!

EA: Cemex January - June 2008
" Free lime 24.9%; antimony; tin; cadmium; thallium; mercury; lead; chromium; copper; manganese; nickel; arsenic; cobalt; vanadium; zinc; dioxin. "

BYPASS DUST is provided FREE in Rugby, and apparently " poses no health risk."
* How much of the above is essential to the human body on a daily basis as a dietary requirement?
* How much does each resident of Rugby need to breath in every day to GUARANTEE a long and healthy life?


Sunday, December 07, 2008


"Community engagement to START - with information sharing!"

MONDAY 8 DEC 6.00PM ST OSWALDS CHURCH, Lawford Road, Rugby, invites the public to attend. The RCCF has been asking for information for many years, but the Agency has even  to answer Freedom of Information and EIR requests. Are they about to do a U-turn, and to start to be be open , honest, transparent, and to engage in meaningful dialogue, with access to information?

RCCF LETTER 8th October :
"expresses concern about lack of information forthcoming from the Environment Agency, and asks formally for the outcomes of the Agency's investigations into the numerous pollution incidents to be made public, and brought to the Forum. It is becoming increasingly difficult to scrutinise the production at this plant impartially if members do not receive full evidence. It is vital if we are to be seen to be fulfilling the needs of the community by this scrutiny that we receive information regularly and as soon as it is available."

CEMEX, RBC and the AGENCY have been funding the Environment Council as facilitator in trying to "start community engagement" in Rugby (yes in that same Rugby where the Agency lawyers told the House of Lords that NO ONE but NO ONE is interested or concerned about the cement plant and its operations) and to try to "move forward together". Limited progress has been made so far, after one year of struggle and endeavour, (on top of the previous seven years!!) but now the Agency has a "new bright idea" and has just informed the Forum as follows:

"You can see those records of pollution incidents on our Public Register at Rugby Borough Council, or ask the company to show them to you at your meetings. I think this ties in to our work on public engagement and I'm proposing to Cemex and RBC that we START by trying to establish protocols for the sharing of information. This seems to have been a fundamental problem in our relationship to date, and I hope that we can agree what, how and when information can be provided to the public, AND what they will use this information for. The Environment Council should be writing to stakeholders shortly to set this us."

"From the Workshop outcomes on 17th September we believe the focus at the work group should be on the exchange of information with the public. This was a common thread running through the feedback in the workshop and it is a tangible area of work that could be developed and would help further improve any future development of public engagement."

The Agency finally admit what is wrong in Rugby, and the mushrooms,
aka residents, are now going to get access to information? Can it be true that the authorities finally admit that there has been no honest, transparent, open, meaningful community engagement, and no proper consultation and information sharing? So its back to the drawing board - with us all being fully informed - after ONLY eight years of asking! But SADLY it is just too late to "do anything" about the unlawfully built and operated cement co-incinerator. But they will now at least tell us about it. Nice one!

AGENCY SAYS: We allow a work place exposure of 50 micrograms/m3 per eight hour day. We have no information on chromium VI emissions from the Cemex plant, and it has no specific limit at the plant in any case. Total heavy metals including chromium (and antimony, arsenic, lead, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel and vanadium) are limited to 0.5mg/m3 and is required to be "sampled" only four times a year. The UK's Environment Action Level is 0.1 micrograms per metre cubed as an annual average and we think it unlikely to get to that level as the Dispersion Model for metals shows a ground level concentration of 0.000119 micrograms/m3.

"Cement mill emissions are "controlled" by a limit on particulate matter of 30 mg/m3." This actually means to say the EA "put a limit on", but there is no way it is controlled at all, and often exceeds. In any case it is only sampled TWICE a year. BUT using a worst case
emission of CHROMIUM from the cement mills in the "clinker dust" the chromium in the ambient air is INCREASED THREE FOLD to 0.0003 micrograms.
"The Chromium VI is from the processing of raw materials, and we would expect the operator to keep chromium content to a minimum. There would be no commercial attraction for Cemex to use raw materials with a significant chromium content in Rugby."

"The problems at Davenport are a problem for the USA EPA, but suggest a breakdown in raw materials quality control. The EA have not 'found' anything similar
at Rugby." Question: Have you looked? "ERR, well, no, not actually."

EA not able to prosecute for 17 November thick coating of dust as it was QUITE LEGAL and IN ORDER - from a four-minute ESP trip. The EA has no LEG TO STAND ON, and no legal basis on which to proceed further because, as frequently happens, Cemex say they were either starting up, or shutting down, and thus NO EMISSION LIMITS were in place at the time. So its TOO BAD and TOUGH LUCK RUGBY! Free feather dusters to be distributed to all?

include requests to extend the start up and shut down periods, when no ELVs are in place, which allow all these dust and pollution incidents to go on with no punishment, prosecution or reprimand. They want longer hours without limits, and also waste burning to occur during periods of instability.
The WASTE CLIMAFUEL/RDF is also to have a much larger range of calorific values and also to have much higher contents of pollutants and such as chlorine - which assists in the formation of the deadly dioxins.
And were the Rugby residents ever consulted, or even informed about any of this? You guessed it!

Thursday, December 04, 2008 has a YouTube channel!

I have had a blog for a little while now and am noticing it's usefulness in archiving the vast amounts of data collected around the Cemex cement plant and it's operations.

Publishing the information online also allows anyone interested or affected to hop on and have a read.  Together we can rally around these issues, pool ideas and information to ensure no environmental laws are broken.

Never underestimate the power of social media when fighting the good fight. I get emails of support from all over the world from others also wanting to bring awareness and point out that sometimes big industry does not play by the rules and it is the local population who suffer for this.

It can mean an increase of unnecessary traffic, road noise, pollution from various sources, all on your doorstep.

All people should be entitled to a safe and secure home for their family. You did not choose for the goalposts to be moved on ever increasing emission limits and unmeasured invisible pollutants. You deserve the right to breath air that does not slowly poison you.

I feel it is time to take this protest up a gear. This is why I have started a YouTube video channel.

Please feel free to join the discussion both here and over on YouTube.

Be informed, be active. Do something to protect your family's health.

You can view the YouTube channel here..