LAPC prosecution over cement dust costs Hanson £21,000

Hanson Quarry Products Europe has been fined £18,000 after clouds of cement dust blew from its concrete batching plant in the King's Cross area of London.

The case was brought by the London Borough of Camden for two incidents of serious dust pollution in January 2002. The site imports aggregates by rail and mixes them with cement. The concrete mix is distributed around London.

On 22 January, an environmental health officer inspecting a neighbouring site noticed large emissions of dust from the Hanson works. He decided that it was potentially harmful to people in the area.

The officer, Peter Carey, told ENDS that following the incident he gave Hanson a verbal warning. He said that he received an assurance that it would not happen again.

On 28 January, Mr Carey saw an even larger dust cloud which "looked almost like there had been an explosion."

Mr Carey said that the emissions were probably caused during the off-loading of cement from a lorry when the driver may have over-pressurised the silo, resulting in a discharge of dust. Hanson has since installed valves on the silo to prevent excessive pressurisation.

At Highbury magistrates court on 5 November, Hanson pleaded guilty to six offences under section 23(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It was fined £2,000 for each of three offences on 22 January, and £4,000 apiece for a further three on 28 January. Costs of £3,116 were also awarded against the company.

The offences related to breaches of the conditions in Hanson's authorisation under the local air pollution control (LAPC) regime - that there should be no visible emissions across the site boundary, that the authority should be notified and records made of any polluting releases, and that staff should properly monitor deliveries to the site.

The latest Government survey of local authorities' performance in enforcing LAPC found that there were just six prosecutions in 2001/02, with fines totalling £62,500 (see p 11 ).

Please sign in or register to continue.

Sign in to continue reading

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Subscribe for full access

or Register for limited access

Already subscribe but don't have a password?
Activate your web account here