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Canvey Island (Methane Gas Terminal)

Volume 961: debated on Monday 22 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of the known hazard posed by the methane gas terminal on Canvey Island and the risk of spillages of liquefied gas leading to the release of a gas cloud, he will set out the scientific justification for the decision of the Health and Safety Executive to recommend to the local authority the establishment of a cordon sanitaire around the installation limited to only 1 kilometre.

The chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that the hazard range for many dangerous substances depends on a number of factors—for example, dispersion characteristics of vapours and gases about which scientific knowledge is limited. Experience shows that the worst effects of a flammable gas cloud explosion would be unlikely to extend beyond a radius of 1 kilometre. The recommendation made to the Castle Point district council in response to its request for advice on further housing development was, therefore, based on the view that it would be prudent not to add to the numbers of persons within that distance from the terminal.