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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
North's top polluters named
Chemical plant
Campaigners want health-threatening emissions cut
Chemical plants in Cumbria and Teesside are producing almost 15% of Britain's cancer-causing pollutants between them.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has used Environment Agency data to compile a list of the country's top 10 industrial carcinogen producers.

Glaxo in Ulverston, Cumbria, is third in the list, while Teesside's Ineos Chloride is fifth and Huntsman Petrochemicals, also in Teesside, is placed ninth.

The environmental pressure group says that while most chemical firms have reduced pollution levels, more still needs to be done.


Much more needs to be done, especially in socially deprived areas

Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth

The FoE study says Glaxo's Cumbria plant released 773 tonnes of waste chemicals into the environment in 2001 - a rise of 24% on the previous year.

Ineos Chloride released 373 tonnes and Huntsman Chemicals 178 tonnes.

The worst offender, according to FoE, is Ineos Chloride's sister plant in Runcorn, Essex, with 1,303 tonnes.

Mike Childs, FoE senior campaigner, said: "Cuts in factory pollution are good news for the environment and good news for people who have to live near polluting factories.

"These results vindicate Friends of the Earth's approach of linking chemical pollution to potential health threats and naming and shaming the worst polluters.

"The Environment Agency, the official pollution watchdog, has done good work in forcing cuts in pollution.

Chemical waste
Chemical waste still finds its way into rivers

"But much more needs to be done, especially in socially deprived areas such as Teesside.

"Zero release of health-threatening pollution must be the goal."

Since the organisation's campaign began in 1998, releases of cancer-causing gases have fallen by 48%.

Mr Childs added: "Almost 8,000 tonnes of cancer-causing pollution are still released by Britain's biggest factories, many of which are located in socially deprived areas already facing numerous other health threats.

"In Teesside, where we have been working closely with the local communities over the last 18 months, pollution levels fell by less than 10% last year and have only fallen by 23% since 1998."

He said he wanted the Environment Agency to produce information on pollution releases compared to production levels, to enable better analyses of data.

In September Huntsman Chemicals was fined 23,000 after it allowed 100 tonnes of benzene to spill into the River Tees.


Click here to go to BBC Cumbria

Click here to go to BBC Tees
See also:

25 Sep 02 | England
22 Aug 02 | England
11 Jul 02 | Wales
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