We have seen a letter informing the owners of the 2 Agriculture feed-mill of a Notice of Contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
It came from Anthony Brookes, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, and is dated 27 March 2017
It reads –
‘During the course of my visit of 15th March 2017, I identified significant contraventions of health and safety law.
We discussed the fact that a DSEAR assessment had taken place in April 2016 and that you were addressing the recommendations within that report.
However, I found that large parts of the mill were (still) heavily contaminated with a deep build-up of dust in addition to numerous spillages of grain and dust from production machinery … (which) increases the risk of fire and of a secondary gas explosion.’
EVEN THOUGH THE DANGER OF A DUST EXPLOSION WAS FLAGGED UP AND INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO TAKE REMEDIAL ACTION, NOTHING WAS DONE FOR OVER A YEAR. NOR WAS THE VILLAGE INFORMED, EITHER OF THE FAILED INSPECTION, OR OF THE DANGER WHICH CONTINUED FOR MORE THAN A YEAR.
Remedial action, according to a follow-up visit a few weeks later IN June 2017, had finally been taken.
Explosions of this sort, though rare, are not unheard-of. Several have occurred in the past decade, both in the UK and the USA. Anecdotal accounts also say that several fires have taken place this year alone at 2 Agriculture’s Granary premises: a grain-store where the build-up of dust is inevitable.
An explosion destroys everything for 200-300 metres. In the case of Stoke Ferry, this would unfortunately mean the whole village centre.
THE MILL, THE INDUSTRIAL PROCESSES OF WHICH ARE INHERENTLY POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, IS NOT A SUITABLE OPERATION FOR THE CENTRE OF A RESIDENTIAL VILLAGE.