Du Pont spill highlights gap in Northern Ireland laws

A major spillage of chlorobutadiene into Lough Foyle from Du Pont's chemical works in Maydown, Londonderry, caused no significant environmental damage, according to a parliamentary answer by junior Northern Ireland Minister Jeremy Hanley.1 The incident has drawn attention to the Government's failure to stick to its timetable to extend the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to the province.

The Du Pont spill attracted widespread publicity in Northern Ireland, and did not reflect well on the firm's emergency procedures.

According to Mr Hanley's account, the spill occurred from a neoprene unit at the Maydown site. An alarm first signalled a fault in the early hours of 6 October, but was misinterpreted by an employee as having been caused by fumes from a vat containing chlorobutadiene which had just been cleaned. At 7.00, it wa

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