1997 audit of an Oldbury phosphorus factory.

Mr Carroll made this Freedom of Information request to Environment Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Environment Agency,

I am writing to make an open government request for all the
information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations.

In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible.

If however this request is too wide or too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters.
I am requesting whether you hold a copy of The Agency's Audit of the Albright and Wilson chemical works at Oldbury in 1997?
This audit is mentioned in ENDS Report 270 which stated that: "At the Oldbury works, managers' salary increases are linked to both their individual and the site's performance against targets-including an absolute requirement that there should be "no pollution incidents or notifiable incidents". The audit team expressed concern that this could discourage incident reporting to the Agency." Albright and Wilson denied that this was the possibility, but the audit team found that in fact an unspecified number of incidents had not been reported."
I understand that the audit undertaken in October 1996 scrutinised six processes as well as a landfill operated by the company. I would request the full audit on all of these aspects in electronic form.

I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response
within 20 working days.
I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have received
this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near
future.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

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Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

Dear Mr Carroll,

Thank you for your email regarding Albright and Wilson chemical works in
Oldbury.

For your information, I have passed your query to our local External
Relations Team (Planning and Corporate Services) for advice. They will
check whether we hold this information and they will be in touch with you
shortly.

The External Relations team have 20 working days from the date we receive
your enquiry to provide a response, and they will get this to you as soon
as possible.

Should you wish to contact them in the meantime, their details are below.
Please quote your Enquiry Ref 110110DF/04 in your correspondence with us.

External Relations
Planning and Corporate Services
Environment Agency
Midlands Region, Central Area
Sentinel House
9 Wellington Crescent
Fradley Park
LICHFIELD
WS13 8RR
Tel: 08708 506506
I trust this information will be of some assistance to you Mr Carroll. If
you have any further questions, please contact us again.

Kind Regards

David Fenn

The Environment Agency
National Customer Contact Centre
Sheffield
(08708 506506
(Ext: 711 3147

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MidsCentral, External Relations, Environment Agency

2 Attachments

Thank you for your email of 07 January 2011 requesting information for the
above site. Please find attached our response to your request.

Regards

External Relations Team
Environment Agency - Central Midlands Office
[1][email address]
Sentinel House,
9 Wellington Crescent
Fradley Park
Lichfield WS13 8RR
[2]http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

 

 

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Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

This provided some interesting nuggets of new information,
*"The company was informed of the Agency's intention to carry out the audit in good time" - Enough time to take the rubbish to the tip
*"A number of discrete operations are currently carried out on site, some of which are unique in terms of process chemistry and process control" - Saddam Hussein and "baby milk factories" come to mind.
*"The Rattlechain Landfill site complies with all license conditions"- The fact that the three useless regulators of this site West Midlands County Council, Sandwell council, and The Environment Agency have not amended the vaguely worded and ambiguous license since 1978 allows compliance. Evidence of breaches after this audit, received under a separate Freedom of Information request to the agency reveal a very different story in terms of site security and waste build ups on the site. Some of these were rectified only after several months and after many warnings to comply with the license conditions- So what was the point of even having license requirements?
*"The company acknowledge that past activities at Oldbury have caused contamination of the ground with phosphorus."- The decommissioning of the phosphorus plant involved removing contaminated ground to Rattlechain "Mere", as did desludging the contaminated chemical (Haughton) arm canal.
"The filtered water awaiting discharge in the collecting area, which is separated from the main lagoon by a causeway supported a variety of rushes and grasses along with a number of coots and ducks."
-LOL- All awaiting poisoning with toxic white phosphorus in the sediment. THIS SHOWS THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY ARE ONLY EVER CONCERNED WITH "WATER QUALITY" AND NOT SEDIMENT QUALITY; THE REASON WHY BURYING TOXIC MATERIALS UNDER THE WATER (WITH THEIR COMPLICIT CONSENT) HAS BEEN POISONING BIRDS ON THIS LAKE OF DEATH FOR YEARS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO WHILST THEY CAN ACCESS THIS SEDIMENT.

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

These are some pointers for others with a longstanding polluting factory problem, concerning propaganda techniques.
*"The company has a good relationship with the local community and works hard to maintain it."- It helps to manufacture this impression when you employ local councillors and their family members who are politically funded through a large Union membership for mutual survival.
* "Albright and Wilson ("the company") take their environmental responsibilities seriously and have adopted a.. (H.S.E) .. policy of an exemplorary performance." Juxtapose the policy with the reality- Dr John Adsetts, the Technical Director from A/W, wrote in 1993: “in the past five years we have had a series of incidents- fatalities, serious injuries, explosions, fires and emissions at Avonmouth, Oldbury, Portishead, Whitehaven, Barcelona, Charleston, Buckingham, Yarraville, Varennes, Ambarnath, Surabaya, Manila, Monroe...”.
The post A/W era at Oldbury fires, emissions, spillages and also the legionairres outbreak.
The truth is that local communities survive in spite of these companies but never because of them. Albright and Wilson's wartime record, exaggerated by many in the area, and their PR men, amounted to the production of millions of toxic pints of milk, (SIP no 76 grenades) that were unfit for purpose and mass dumped by Captain Mainwearing types playing at being soldiers. Today's soldiers, not Jerry, are still encountering and having to deal with this A/W toxic rubbish; improvised incendiary devices "I.I.D'S" when they are dug up, and lets not forget the odd passing British bird down the local tip, LOL.
Local residents at Trinity Street hope they will not be gassed, but as long as a warning siren sounds from the factory so they can shut their windows, "the all clear" will be given. It's as though the war never ended for some, and sometimes you have to wonder who the real enemy were?