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Wirral concern as Syria's chemical weapons to be destroyed in Ellesmere Port
MORE than 150 tonnes of industrial-grade chemicals from Syria’s weapons stockpile are to be destroyed in Ellesmere Port.
Waste management firm Veolia is expected to confirm plans to destroy chemicals at its site in Bridges Road later this afternoon.
Wirral Council leader Phil Davies told the Globe it was the “first I have heard of it” and had not been kept up-to-date with the disposal.
He said he found it "deeply concerning".
The proposals to destroy the weapons of mass destruction in Britain were announced on December 20 as part of international efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
A British port with suitable off-loading equipment was said to be the receiver of the chemicals, leading to speculation that Ellesmere Port and Southamptom were among those being considered.
Since then, speculation has continued about where the chemicals would be taken, with Veolia expected to announce Ellesmere Port as the destination for their destruction later today, Thursday.
The chemicals, known as “B Precursors”, are typically used in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Foreign Office reassured people that they would only become toxic if mixed with a “A Precursors”. These are being removed from Syria separately.
Half of Syria’s 1,300 tonne chemical weapon stockpile is made up of extremely toxic materials used in making Saran and Vx gases, as well a small amount of mustard gas.
Those more dangerous chemicals are set to be destroyed at sea by the US Navy.
The Globe understands a decision on the disposal site has now been made, with a spokesman for Veolia’s Ellesmere Port site due to make an official announcement soon.
When the announcement was made that some of Syria's chemicals would be destroyed in Britain, a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth said: "The chemicals will be shipped to a UK port with suitable off-loading equipment before being transferred to a commercial site to be destroyed by incineration. The chemicals will be subject to industry-standard security measures.
“It is important to stress that these are chemicals, not chemical weapons.
"They do not contain explosives. The chemicals will be sealed in standard industrial containers to international standards and under the supervision of OPCW inspectors.”
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