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29 May 2018
A reader remembers Flixborough

A look back in time with a warning

The Flixborough disaster was an explosion at a chemical plant close to the village of Flixborough, North Lincolnshire, England on Saturday, 1 June 1974. It killed 28 people and seriously injured 36 out of a total of 72 people on site at the time. The casualty figures could have been much higher, if the explosion had occurred on a weekday, when the main office area would have been occupied.  A contemporary campaigner on process safety wrote "the shock waves rattled the confidence of every chemical engineer in the country".

Flixborough led to a widespread public outcry over process plant safety. Together with the passage of the Health and Safety at Work Act in the same year it led to (and is often quoted in justification of) a more systematic approach to process safety in UK process industries, and – in conjunction with the Seveso disaster and the consequent EU 'Seveso directives' – to explicit UK government regulation of plant processing or storing large inventories of hazardous materials, currently (2014) by the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999(COMAH).

Now the question arises:  "Is the South Wales Pipeline covered by safety regulations and does it have regular safety checks?"  Also we must ask how well informed are the rescue services about this high pressure pipeline - including the pressure reduction plant at Cilfrew.

It is up to our councillors to pursue this matter without delay.

Information source --- Wikipedia

This is what happens when a gas vapour cloud ingnites:

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