29/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 10:05

Sonae fire: George Howarth MP calls for permanent closure

Category: England

Published: 14th Jun 2011 09:44:52

A Merseyside chipboard factory damaged by a large fire is facing calls from a local MP to be closed permanently.

George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley, said the Sonae plant in Kirkby had been hit by blazes and accidents, including the deaths of two workers.

In an Early Day Motion tabled in the Commons he said the complex posed "a considerable risk" to the public, workforce and fire service.

Sonae Industria is yet to comment on Mr Howarth's criticisms.

The latest fire started in a woodchip storage bunker at the factory on Thursday night and caused extensive damage.

The plant has faced a number of health and safety inquiries in the past decade, amassing tens of thousands of pounds in fines.

In December, two men were killed at the factory when they were dragged into a giant silo.

Mr Howarth has been a frequent critic of the company and in his motion "notes with grave concern" the recent fire.

He adds that there have been "long-standing complaints about dust and air quality from residents and businesses and from enquiries by the Health and Safety Executive over the past decade".

And despite the site employing about 200 people, he argues that it places a "disproportionate financial burden on Knowsley Council, the fire service and the Health and Safety Executive".

His motion concludes by calling on the "relevant regulatory bodies to give urgent consideration to closing the plant down permanently".

Sonae Industria, which opened the plant in 2000, uses wood chippings in the manufacture of chipboard and particle board.

In a statement released after the fire, a spokesperson said: "We would like to convey our apologies to local residents who have been affected by this accident and assure them that we are doing everything within our power to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Sonae fire: George Howarth MP calls for permanent closure [Online] (Updated 14th Jun 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/161901/Sonae-fire-George-Howarth-MP-calls-for-permanent-closure [Accessed 29th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Police search for boy taken from Southampton hospital ward

    Police have launched a "major investigation" to find a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour, who was taken without consent from Southampton General Hospital by his parents.
  • Belfast International Airport: Apology over security check delays

    Belfast International Airport has apologised for delays during security checks on Thursday night.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Joan Rivers 'resting comfortably' after health scare

    US comedienne Joan Rivers is "resting comfortably" and with her family after reportedly going into cardiac arrest during surgery on her vocal chords.
  • Petition calls for removal of West Somerset College head

    More than 240 people have signed an online petition calling for the head of a Somerset school to be removed from her post after poor GCSE results.
  • Nato summit momentous in Wales' history, says Carwyn Jones

    First Minister Carwyn Jones says next week's Nato summit in Newport will be a "momentous occasion in the history of Wales".