ELLESMERE Port and Neston’s MP has said he is confident that the disposal of Syria’s chemical waste will present “no greater hazard” than the chemicals routinely destroyed in the town.
It was announced last week that 150 tonnes of industrial-grade chemicals from Syria’s stockpile was to be destroyed by Veolia Environment Services in Bridges Road.
Andrew Miller called on the Foreign Secretary after he found the lack of information surrounding the disposal “appalling.”
He said hundreds of constituents have written to him with concerns about the disposal and asked why the Government had failed to keep him fully informed about the contract with Veolia.
After Foreign Secretary William Hague offered his apologies, Mr Miller met with Philip Dunne MP – parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) – as well as expert scientists from the MoD and Environment Agency to discuss the situation and ask questions about the nature of the contract.
Mr Miller said: “It is unfortunate that the Government failed to engage with the local community but I am grateful for the apology from William Hague and the subsequent actions he took.
“I am now confident that there are no actual ‘chemical weapons’ coming to the site in Ellesmere Port and the materials in transit present no greater hazard than the normal day to day work undertaken by Veolia Environment Services, and are much like the chemicals emanating from civilian sources routinely destroyed at the plant.”
In a recent article, a Veolia company spokesman told the Globe that the substances – known as B precursors - are routinely used in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and are “similar in nature” to standard industrial materials “safely processed on a regular basis” at Ellesmere Port.
More than 750 people have signed a petition
to stop the chemicals being destroyed in Ellesmere Port and have called on the MoD to find an alternative location.
The Foreign Office has assured people that the chemicals – which are heading to the UK after Syrian President Assad agreed to dismantle his regime’s weapons stockpile – would only become toxic if mixed with A precursors. These are being removed from Syria separately.
The disposal process is due to take place at the end of February.