Anger over explosion ‘risk’ near homes in Portishead

PUBLISHED: 06:14 10 July 2017

North Somerset Council will decide whether the tankers can remain in place.

North Somerset Council will decide whether the tankers can remain in place.


Lives are being put at an ‘unacceptable risk’ by a fuel firm storing tonnes of highly-flammable kerosene within yards of homes in Portishead, according to protestors.

Aviation fuel is stored at Redcliffe Bay Petroleum Depot and its neighbours say the firm is flouting planning regulations by storing the potentially dangerous material within 10 metres of houses.

The company is adamant its processes are safe and is applying for permission to correct what it says is a previous planning oversight.

The depot, off Down Road, contains more than a dozen tankers, but the two closest to homes in Waterside Park are under scrutiny. Each contains a minimum of 40 tonnes of kerosene and homeowners say the tankers should be moved elsewhere within the depot and away from a built-up residential area.

Several objections have been submitted to North Somerset Council.

Robert and Yvonne Brimley, in their objection, said: “Given that at their closest these tanks are within 10 metres of residential houses… the homes on the northern edge of Waterside Park are in danger on contamination if a leakage or overfill should occur, not to mention the risks to the Severn Estuary and coastal path.”

Waterside Park homeowner Michael Connor added: “We feel the dangers associated with the proposals are unacceptable.

“We feel it highly inappropriate to store such chemicals so close to a residential area – the risk to life is unacceptable.”

Several drew comparisons to a fuel depot fire in Hertfordshire in 2005 when 20 tankers exploded, injuring more than 40 people. Others said the Grenfell Tower fire in London showed risks should never be taken when it comes to safety.

Director Andrew Lucas, of planning consultancy firm RPS, said the depot is ‘merely rectifying an error’ in a previous planning agreement.

He added: “This application merely seeks to formally regularise the long-established storage of fuels that continues to take place at Redcliffe Bay.

“There are no changes to these operations proposed and the submission of the application and its subsequent approval will not alter the current usage of the tanks.”

Portishead Town Council recommends the application is rejected.

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