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BEWARE 'DANGER' ROAD; Chemical tankers to be warned of Grosvenor route.

Byline: LOUISE COOPER

OPERATORS who transport chemicals to a Linthwaite firm are to be informed of the bad state of the access road by safety chiefs.

The measure was confirmed by representatives from the Health and Safety Executive after a damming report was produced into the Grosvenor Chemicals fire in 2010 in Linthwaite.

And it was news that was given to members of the Colne Valley Action Group, who arranged a multi-agency meeting in Slaithwaite to express their concern about the firm and about the steep, badly maintained access road to the Manchester Road plant.

The meeting, chaired by Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney, was attended by Kirklees Council Highways, West Yorkshire Fire Service and Colne Valley Action Group.

Action Group member Gordon Ratcliffe told the meeting: "This road is not safe to carry vehicles with dangerous chemicals."

But the meeting heard how Lees Mill Lane used to access the site is a private road and has no owner to pay for repairs.

Kirklees Council have said the road will only be maintained as a public footpath despite concerns over pedestrian safety.

Chris Flint, head of operations at the HSE, agreed that they will now write to all operators visiting the Grosvenor site to allow them to alert tanker drivers about the bad state of the road.

Access by fire crews was then addressed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue's Kirklees District Commander Keith Robinson.

He said: "It is a bad road. Our appliances fully laden weigh between 14-18 tonnes in comparison to a tanker which weighs around 44 tonnes.

"Whilst the road is in a bad condition we can still get down there.

"It would be down to the driver of that appliance to make a judgement call."

He said already this year crews had visited the site four times and would continue to monitor the situation.

The HSE confirmed four improvement notices are currently in place at the chemical firm.

Grosvenor also owes the HSE pounds 350,000 for the investigation.

Speaking after the meeting, Action Group Chairman Tony Edwards said: "A few positives came from the meeting.

"The fire service comments were positive and the HSE is working with us which is encouraging".

Since the fire, the number of chemicals has been reduced at the Linthwaite site as the company changed its range of products.

The investigation followed the huge fire of May 24, 2010, which led to explosions that rocked local houses. Toxic fumes and substances were released into the air and the River Colne in the blaze, which involved 150 firefighters.

The company specialises in formulating and packing insecticides, fungicides and weedkillers as well as non-agrochemical''s such as sun creams, hair lacquers and hangover cures.

Grosvenor Chemicals declined to attend the meeting or comment to the Examiner.

CAPTION(S):

* TAKE CARE: Road to Grosvenor Chemicals from Manchester Road. Left: Jason McCartney at meeting
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2012
Words:478
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