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Calor Gas: Canvey Island

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend the public information zones for the Canvey Island (a) Calor Gas and (b) OIKOS sites; and if he will make a statement. (265735)

[holding answer 26 March 2009]: HSE determined the existing public information zones following a detailed assessment of the hazards and risks associated with the Calor Gas Ltd. and OIKOS sites in line with HSE’s—Health and Safety Executive—published policy. There are no plans to extend these public information zones.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what substance was spilled at the Canvey Island Calor Gas site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008; what volume of each substance was spilled; and if he will make a statement. (265733)

[holding answer 23 March 2009]: HSE was not notified by Calor Gas Ltd. of any spillage at its Canvey Island site on 15 October 2008.

HSE understands that Calor Gas Ltd. reported to Castle Point borough council a release of a stenching agent (ethyl mercaptan) on 10 October 2008 during maintenance work at the plant. This incident was not reportable to HSE.

HSE was not notified by Calor Gas Ltd. of any spillage at its Canvey Island site on 25 October 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when and to whom Calor Gas reported the spillages which occurred at its Canvey Island site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008; (265694)

(2) what the location was of the spillage at the Canvey Island Calor Gas site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008;

(3) what investigations have been conducted by the Health and Safety Executive into the spillages at the Canvey Island Calor Gas site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the operation of the spill and leak detection systems during the spillages at the Canvey Island Calor Gas site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008;

(5) what information was provided to Canvey Island residents in the public information zone surrounding the Calor Gas site about the spillages at the site on (a) 15 and (b) 25 October 2008; and when it was given.

HSE was not notified by Calor Gas Ltd. of any spillage at its Canvey Island site on 15 October 2008.

HSE understands that Calor Gas Ltd. reported to Castle Point borough council a release of a stenching agent (ethyl mercaptan) on 10 October 2008 during maintenance work at the plant. This incident was not reportable to HSE.

HSE was not notified by Calor Gas Ltd. of any spillage at its Canvey Island site on 25 October 2008.

Calor Gas Ltd. has reported to HSE an incident involving the release of approximately 163 tonnes of liquefied propane gas from a bursting disc fitted to pipe work at its Canvey Island site during a routine ship to shore transfer of the liquefied gas from a marine vessel to a storage tank at the site on 27 October 2008. The liquefied gas was released into a catchment area specifically designed to contain spillages of hazardous liquids.

HSE is currently undertaking a detailed investigation of the incident. The investigation includes an assessment of the effectiveness of the spill and leak detection systems at the site.

In March 2003 residents in the public information zone (PIZ) surrounding the Canvey Island site were provided with information about the off-site consequences of possible major accidents. This included information about how people would be warned of an incident with off-site consequences, what action they should take and how they will be kept informed in the event of an emergency at the site.

Calor Gas Ltd. did not warn or provide specific information to residents within the PIZ in relation to the incident on 27 October 2008 as the release was contained within its Canvey Island site.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will meet a delegation including the hon. Member for Castle Point to discuss the safety of the operation of the Canvey Island Calor Gas site. (265698)

Lord McKenzie of Luton (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State [Lords] with responsibility for health and safety at work) will be happy to meet a delegation including the hon. Member for Castle Point to discuss the safety of operations of the Calor Gas Ltd. site at Canvey Island.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment the Health and Safety Executive has made of the risk of a spillage at the Canvey Island Calor Gas site igniting. (265734)

[holding answer 25 March 2009]: In 1997 HSE assessed the likelihood of a major accident at the Canvey Island site, including a fire and explosion from an unintended release of liquefied petroleum gas, as part of its role in advising the Hazardous Substances Authority on the site’s application for a change to the hazardous substances consent.

In 2005 HSE also assessed Calor Gas Ltd.’s safety report required by the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 to demonstrate that they were taking all measures necessary to prevent major accidents at the Canvey Island site. HSE found no serious deficiencies in the safety report.