Energy and effluent costs put ICI's chlorine plants on the line

ICI has warned that all of its chlor-alkali production in the UK is under severe threat from rising electricity prices. The financial squeeze on the business will increase next year when ICI will have to decide whether to proceed with long overdue investments to assure compliance with EC water quality rules.

In November, ICI announced the closure of two 40,000 tonnes per year chlorine plants at Hillhouse, Lancashire. And in evidence this month to a parliamentary inquiry, it warned that its remaining chlor-alkali units at Runcorn on Merseyside and Wilton on Teesside are also at risk. According to ICI, "uncompetitive electricity prices will progressively lead to the demise of the entire UK manufacturing sector based on chlor-alkali manufacture."

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