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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 19:49 GMT
Brickworks closure axes 200 jobs
A brickworks is to close with the loss of 200 jobs because it cannot meet new Environment Agency rules on emissions.

Owners Hanson said the site at Stewartby, near Bedford meets European guidelines on sulphur dioxide but it will fail tougher UK limits.

The site had to comply by the end of 2008, but Hanson said that was too costly and it would shut in February.

The firm said sulphur dioxide was not easy to remove because it is present in the clay excavated from the site.

Workers affected by the closure have worked an average of 25 years each and many said it would be difficult to find alternative work that pays equally well.

Gulzar Chand Mahi moved from the Punjab in the 1960s to work at Stewartby.

He said workers felt upset by the news.

"People do not feel very well because they were told we would shut down next year on 31 December," he said.

"They bring forward the date, but people had adjusted their mortgages to that effect."

Hanson said it would continue to operate its brickworks at Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire which uses a different clay that does not cause the same emissions problems.

David Weeks, from Hanson, said: "It's a sad day for Stewartby, but it's not the end of British brick-making.

"At one time there were literally hundreds of chimneys in the Marston Vale, but now there's just three and soon there will be none."

The brick factory cannot meet emission limits and remain viable

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