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Pcb Spillage

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes of his Department's procedures he has made following his investigation into the PCB spillage at the 1974 channel tunnel workings at Shakespeare cliff.

My Department arranged for a full internal investigation into the preparation and supervision of the contract made in 1978 for removing a boring machine from the 1974 channel tunnel workings at Shakespeare cliff and into how officers of the Department and other Departments learnt about and dealt with the spillage of polychlorinated biphenyls from the machine. The investigation revealed shortcomings in the contractual arrangements and in the action taken by the Department between 1979 and 1985 to deal with the spillage.Although it is exceptional for the Department to be involved in the disposal of specialised machinery of this kind, steps are being taken to strengthen the Department's procedures to remove the risk of such shortcomings being repeated. Officers concerned with contracts involving purchase or disposals involving hazardous chemicals are being cautioned on the need to vet the suitability of contractors from that standpoint and to ensure that terms of contracts provide safeguards against accidents or mishandling. The Department has tightened relevant aspects of its internal personnel supervision, reporting and training procedures.

Number of accidents1923272723171210
Number of fatalities31
Number of accidents1211
Number of fatalities1
Number of accidents11123
Number of fatalities
Number of accidents104669934
Number of fatalities22233522