Still no progress on removing dangerous chemicals from Uckfield industrial unit

Wealden Council has confirmed there is still no progress on removing dangerous chemicals from an Uckfield industrial unit.wealden-district-council-un

A spokesman for the council said:

“We are aware of the concerns about the safety of hazardous chemicals located in an unoccupied unit on the Bellbrook Industrial Estate.

“Wealden District Council does not have the power to have them removed and we have been advised that any legal avenues this council might use to try to achieve this are unlikely to be successful.

“Our officers have visited the site and spoken to neighbouring business owners. We have also responded to a number of enquiries from local people.

“There remains no immediate danger from the chemicals. The contents of the premises are the responsibility of the owner of the site, the ACP pension fund, which is responsible for removing the chemicals and is liable for any costs and damages to others.

“On other premises occupied by the same company (Acquascience) which is now in administration, hazardous chemicals are being removed with the co-operation of the site owners.

“We are continuing to monitor what is a frustrating situation with our partners, including the Environment Agency and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.”

Mr Kevin Benton, whose ACP pension fund owns the unit on the Bellbrook Estate says no officer from Wealden Council, or indeed any other agency, had spoken to him or trustees. If they had visited the general area they had not visited the site.

He said: “There is acute danger from the chemicals. They are classified, after analysis, as class one contact explosives. They are surrounded by 25 tonnes of highly flammable industrial/medical solvents that are leaking, and not secured. The site is not secured.

“A spark from the sites either side could ignite the hazardous vapour that is seeping into them and …”

Mr Benton added that he was in constant contact with the owners of all other sites that had connected interest and he was advised that there were no removals of any material taking place.

He said responsibility for the contents of the unit did not lie with the building’s owner. “The responsibility, quite clearly, is with the administrator of Acquascience until such time as the premises are returned with vacant possession.”

Business owners concerned for safety of workers on the industrial estate appealed for Wealden MP Nus Ghani to intervene in a bid to speed up action to get the chemicals removed but the MP said: “The council are best placed to comment as they have been working with local partners and have deemed the site safe.”

See previous Uckfield News stories about the chemicals by following the links below:

Alarm grows over dangerous chemicals stored in Uckfield industrial unit

Dangerous chemicals still haven’t been moved from Uckfield industrial unit

Dilemma over dangerous chemicals found in Uckfield industrial unit

Notice served on Uckfield industrial unit owner to remove hazardous chemicals

NHS to investigate discovery of patient test pots in Uckfield industrial unit

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