Environmental problems signal closure for coke works

British Coal subsidiary Coal Products Ltd (CPL) is expected shortly to announce the closure of its Avenue coke works near Chesterfield. The cost of improving the management of its liquid effluents is likely to be the last straw which will end the plant's 37-year history.

The Avenue works processes more than 500,000 tonnes of coal annually to produce coke, mainly for the domestic market. Effluent from the process is pumped into a series of lagoons on a former spoil tip which has been turned into a country park. After settlement, much of the waste, which contains ammonia and phenols, goes to sewer.

A recent investigation by the National Rivers Authority (NRA) found that 40% of the waste has been seeping int

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