Sandhurst and Area Action Group
12th November 2002
CSG Seek Viable Alternative to Processing Waste at the Upper Parting Site
Mr. Ken Pee, Managing Director of CSG, revealed to a public meeting this evening that CSG would leave the Upper Parting site if a financially viable alternative use could be identified. Preliminary discussions have already taken place to discuss this new development with Peter Bungard and Andrew Siracowski of Gloucestershire County Council’s Planning Department, Stuart Barnes of the Environment Agency, and Chris Shaw of Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Planning Department.
No details were given of what the alternative uses for the site might be. CSG plan further detailed meetings over the next two weeks.
Those attending the public meeting left Mr. Pee in no doubt of the strength of their opposition to the proposed resumption of waste treatment activities at the Upper Parting site. The meeting took place almost two years to the day when floodwaters swept across the Upper Parting site. The explosion on the night of 30th October 2002 was followed by a frantic, and eventually unsuccessful race against time to remove all of the damaged chemical drums from the site in an attempt to minimise the environmental disaster that occurred when floodwaters covered most of the site with over 1m of water.
At a meeting, the MD of the controversial waste company found residents as obdurate as ever in their struggle to make their homes near the site safe. Mr Pee was reminded by people living close to the site what they went through two years ago. He met one villager who remains chronically ill. He could see the public resolve. Speaker after speaker underlined the message - the waste company had no future in the floodplain; promises were worthless; past performance spoke for itself.
Alan Johnson, whose house flooded during the incident in 2000 and who was in hospital for several days, asked why CSG couldn't just close it down and go. 'Don't wait for the money. Do the right thing,' he pleaded, 'and go'. John Bibbings of Norton asked CSG to follow the lead of Distillex in North Shields, who undertook to close their operation after a similar incident this year.
'No one will buy into that place,' said Steve Eaton, who works for a local agricultural contractor. 'It's a dead duck. But thanks to the floods, a new owner will be sure of a regular holiday.' The price of going is complicated by the potential costs of a clean-up. 'The place has negative equity,' said David Eggleton. 'We'll be talking about what you pay us, not us you.'
Discussion of an 'exit plan', however, offers a glimmer of light. The Community still awaits an apology from CSG for the damage caused to their health and local amenity. At least CSG have begun to talk about going. That sent people home cheered by the first rays of optimism in over two years.
Following the meeting, Mr. Pee met Mr. John Hyam of Sandhurst, whose asthma was recently confirmed by specialists at Guy’s Hospital as directly attributable to exposure to a complex cocktail of toxic chemicals in the plumes from the exploding drums on the night of the fire. Mr. Pee blamed poor communication between the various regulatory and community groups for his lack of awareness of the plight of John Hyam and other residents who still suffer health effects two years on.
To read a copy of CSG’s press release click on the link below.
Follow the link below to access the SAAG website.