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Castle Cement Ltd given record fine

World Cement,

The Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has fined Castle Cement Ltd. £250 000, relating to potentially hazardous environmental pollution between August 2005 and May 2009 at their Padeswood plant in Mold, Wales.

The charges related to emissions leaks and two fires which released potentially dangerous emissions, including an escape of 250 t of dust from a broken pipe in October 2009, which left local residents cars coated in ash.

Residents had complained of excessive dust, noise and vibration, which was so extreme that they were unable to sell their properties.

Judge John Roberts QC said, “These were persistent breaches of the permit conditions resulting in dust emissions, smoke emissions from burning tyres and other materials, and unacceptable noise levels.”

There was a potential danger from the high concentration of dust particles and carcinogenic smoke emissions; the fires at the works emitted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can carry a risk of cancer even with limited exposure. These dangerous emissions could lead to cancer, respiratory and heart conditions; but it was acknowledged that none of these conditions had been recorded.

The company admitted to failing to properly maintain equipment, failure to comply with enforcement notices, and failure to adopt techniques to cope with dust and noise. However, since the investigation began, the company had cooperated and had also invested £1.8 billion to improve the plant and avoid further problems.

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