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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Public to debate ghost ships plan
US ghost fleet
Nine more vessels are scheduled to be shipped from America
The latest attempt by a firm to win permission to scrap former US naval vessels, is going out to public consultation in Hartlepool.

Able UK wants to scrap at least 13 so-called "ghost ships" at its yard in Graythorp. Four of the vessels have been on site for almost a year.

The company is seeking permission to store hazardous materials, including asbestos and PCBs at its facility.

The firm's plans have provoked an outcry from environmental campaigners.

Three planning applications, which also include proposals for wind turbines, are currently being considered by Hartlepool Borough Council.

A range of organisations, including the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and English Nature, are being asked for their views on the application for Hazardous Substances Consent.

But council bosses have also urged the public to make any relevant comments by 31 October.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said Able UK's request for hazardous substances consent is expected to be considered at the same time as the three applications for planning permission - although a date has yet to be fixed.

The Environment Agency has already objected to expansion plans by the firm.

Agency officers say Able UK has not supplied enough information about the possible impact on the environment.

It is calling for more assessment of the impact on nearby wildlife habitats, fish stocks and the impact of shipping movement in the nearby Seaton Channel.

Able UK has said its decommissioning facilities would not have an adverse effect on surrounding wildlife.

Oils and oily ballast water could cause damage to the marine environment.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen but is denser than water and non-soluble.
PCBs have been called "probable carcinogens" and have been linked with neurological and developmental problems in humans.
Mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium are highly toxic metals which accumulate in the body.

Q&A: Ghost ships
07 Jan 04 |  England

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