White phosphorus match ban- The Berne Convention falsity

As evidenced in the last post, matches containing white phosphorus were deadly for consumers, but even more so for the poor unfortunates who made them, particularly for scumbag Quaker companies like Bryant and May.

The toxicity of these matches had been known by their makers, politicians and everyone else to be deadly poisonous for decades, yet still their manufacture with The Devil’s element  continued into the new Century.

In 1906, the political class, does what it always has done in making some pompous declaration, as it does today about “climate change” issues, and came up with the title “The International Convention respecting the Prohibition of the Use of White (Yellow) Phosphorus in the Manufacture of Matches.”

The treaty forbade the use of P4 in matches, and also banned the sale and import of said matches, yet it did not come into force for several years, and Britain was not an immediate signatory either.

The scale of import of matches into Britain is shown in the article below from the time, which suggests that instead of poisoning British workers as they had been for decades, the scum match makers were now using cheap foreign expendable labour instead. Around 4 million estimated boxes of white phosphorus matches were thought to be being imported in 1907. 

9th December 1908 Newspaper: Daily Telegraph & Courier (London)

I came across a copy of the treaty, and set it out below; it is written in both French and English, given the place where it was negotiated.

The treaty as signed on 26/9/06 was only brought forward by Britain two years later on 28/12/08.

The small print of this is that Britain only banned the use in the United Kingdom, and not its “empire”, sorry (countries invaded in the name of royalty). I would therefore wager that companies making these matches sprung up in India and other such countries, where labour rights would have been non existent.

There is a long list of pompousness about those involved as heads of state, and one can see from this that these wankers would be very prevalent in just 8 years after the signing of the 8 article point treaty for engaging in the deadliest war the world had ever seen – INCLUDING THE USE OF WHITE PHOSPHORUS IN WEAPONS OF WAR TO KILL PEOPLE. 

Albright and Wilson of course would benefit by producing said chemical for this purpose for Britain in the run up to and during The Second World War, as well as for France. 

The procrastination of Britain’s new law would then be kicked out in hoarded stocks for even longer after the date of “ban”, as evidenced by the article below from the time.

4th January 1909 Newspaper: London Daily News

The shallowness of such conventions continues to this day, in the use of this chemical weapons being classified as “smoke screening” by Governments and militaries across the globe.

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White phosphorus misadventures #10 – Man dies after lighting match

 

This white phosphorus misadventure concerns a monsieur who got more than he bargained for when striking a light in Paris. The newspaper reporting the matter on 24th August 1878 was the Kenilworth Advertiser.

He had struck a match using his thumb nail, with some of the white phosphorus getting under his finger nail. Dramatic events appear to have occurred when the poison spread to his whole arm. Within 27 hours the systemic poisoning had killed him.  This is just one of many examples of why these matches and the trade that made them were so dangerous and why they had to be banned. The chemical of course would continue to be made and both people and the environment.  😥

 

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Happy New Year! Your 2022 Alternative Toxic Calendar is here.

Are you lucky enough to live in the 1km HSE consultation zone?

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, except if you worked for Albright and Wilson or Rhodia, in which case UP YER BUM!!

Yes it’s that time of year when Solvay push a calendar through local doors blowing their own trumpets, and trying to keep a lid on their own apparatus in the vile production units containing enough dangerous chemicals to wipe out an entire city.

This year, tomorrow to be exact, marks 13 years to the day since they released a toxic assault onto the local area.

It took years for the truth to come out about that one.

 

                 >>>>>>DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CALENDAR BELOW<<<<<< 

 

TOXIC CALENDAR 2022

Don’t forget,

The information contained in this calendar is important- please keep it in a *safe place *(preferably not in Oldbury).  😆

 

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Albright’s toxic archives #35 suicide solutions

 

The list of deaths at Trinity Street caused by incompetent systems and management failures and the dangerous chemicals being made and stored there have been well documented on this blog- they are part of the Albright and Wilson story, but conveniently edited out of local history books instead of what Oldbury “made” .  🙄

There is however another story concerning the fake Quaker “caring” scumbag families of Albright and Wilson and their workforce, and that is one of poor mental health. Two suicides from newspaper archives reveal that pastoral care at this site appears to have been extremely limited.

The first from the Birmingham Daily Gazette of 17th January 1948 reveals that Thomas Ashton of Harborne  slashed his wrist but also appears to have drunk “disinfectant” whilst in his car at the works. Ashton appears to have been in a prominent position as “chief accountant” at Oldbury. The explanation of “temporary insanity” following post war reorganisation is quite bizarre and frankly unbelievable. What the hell does that even mean anyway?

Ashton is mentioned in the Centenary book “100 years of Phosphorus Making”, (Written just three years later) ,where he is linked to the AW offshoot and ironically named “Holmes Marine Life Protection Association Limited.”

“Mead was replaced in 1929 by Thomas V. Ashton (1929-1948), later assistant Secretary at Oldbury to J.C Wilson.”

Quite incredibly here, they mention that the man was director up to 1948, but not that he had fucking died by his own hand and not resigned the position!  Did they just want to edit out facts like this because it did not suit the narrative of the AW family, or his close links to John Wilson and his activities? Was there something to hide here, as it appears so to me.

I do wonder what he knew or had discovered and why he apparently killed himself, or even if he really did in a David Kelly kind of way!

Just 7 years later, the same paper on 8th June reported on another dead scientist, this time of Phillip Carter, also incredibly living in Harborne. The idea that he had killed himself because of not being able to complete calculations is another unbelievable story, this time coming from another AW individual “Dr Coates”.

The Birmingham Daily Post of the same date also reported the “suicide”.

This reveals that he had gassed himself in his own house, how ironic given the fact that the company he worked for had been gassing the local population for many years with chemical fallout.

Was there really more to this, as it seems incalculable if you’ll excuse the pun. Coates, first name Harold I believe, should have blamed himself as his manager, but oddly he is not even mentioned in the company centenary book either.

We will never know of course what was really going on inside the minds of these men, but working for a toxic employer like Albright and Wilson obviously did not help them at all. Perhaps the balance of their minds was impaired through the toxic chemicals that they came into direct contact with?

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Rhodia/Solvay’s Silver Bow

#MASKINGMORETHANCHEMISTRY

 

There is one thing that is certain with major chemical industrial polluters, they not only pollute the environment and despoil people’s lives when in business, but when their plants and associated waste dumps are left behind, the toxic legacy is left with the communities who continue to suffer the blight.

In the case of Albright and Wilson, their former sites have all gone the same way after having been mothballed- about as much use and relevance as the organisation “Scientists for EU” you might say  😆 😆 😆 😆  . Some of these were taken on by the French company Rhodia, (without much change) and subsequently Solvay. Whitehaven, Portishead and Avonmouth have all gone, but other sites used in the production of White phosphorus abroad give some interesting clues as to what such plants emitted, as well as more interestingly to me, what lies beneath rattlechain lagoon!

The disastrous Long Harbour venture where Albright and Wilson blighted that community with pollution killing thousands of fish has been documented HERE. Another lesser known P4 production site which Rhodia and then Solvay took on and acquired into decommissioning is located in the state of Montana. It is known as the Silver Bow complex. This was no Christmas present gift wrapped type of affair however.

This site occupying approximately 1.25 square miles was originally a French owned “Rhöne-Poulènc” company site, of which the chemicals division was spun off into “Rhodia” in 1997 , who of course would take over Albright and Wilson just a couple of years later, only to be swallowed up by Solvay in 2011.

According to a formal EPA document,

“The Facility was constructed in the early 1950s to produce elemental phosphorus. The
crude phosphorus stored in the clarifier was a by-product of elemental phosphorus
production. During the operating life of the Facility, much of the crude phosphorus by-product collected in the clarifier was further processed on-site to recover any remaining
elemental phosphorus. In 1997, processing was terminated at the Facility and the crude
phosphorus sludge remaining in the clarifier, and other locations around the Facility, could no longer be processed on-site.”

Another large document

TOXICOLOGICAL PROFILE FOR WHITE PHOSPHORUS

Prepared by: Sciences International, Inc. Under Subcontract to: Research Triangle Institute Under Contract No. 205-93-0606 Prepared for: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry September 1997

gives some interesting perspective about WP production sites in the US at the close of the millennium.

“4.1 PRODUCTION

The domestic production capacity of elemental phosphorus in 1992 was 294,000 tons (SRI 1992). The demand for elemental phosphorus is expected to decrease (l-2%) during this decade (CMR 1991). The three companies that presently manufacture elemental phosphorus in the United States for sale or distribution are FMC Corp., Pocatello, Idaho; Monsanto Co., Soda Springs, Idaho; and Rhone-Poulenc Inc., Silver Bow, Montana (SRI 1995).”

The operation of this site appears to have been a major blot on the landscape, aren’t they all, with over a million pounds of P4 stated to be on site.

Even worse, a reported 4,035 pounds of this chemical were apparently being emitted to air from this plant, source  Toxics Release Inventory (TR193 1995).

Another EPA report dated 2003 concerning the FMC Pocatello plant mentions the Silver Bow site several times in looking at other White phosphorus producing sites and historic ponds contaminated with this chemical in relation to potential treatments.

epa542r03013

  • “(Rhodia, Silver Bow, Montana) indicated that the ponds are not under corrective action.” executive summary
  • The ponds used were unlined. page 15
  • The method of manufacture at this site was the electric arc method, and a useful summary of this site was presented in a table.

“Phossy water was disposed of in unlined ponds at this site. In addition, sludge was disposed of in a concrete clarifier. The clarifier is approximately 100 ft in diameter, and is an open-topped, in-ground unit that is constructed of reinforced concrete, and contains 400,000 – 500,000 gallons of sludge, with an estimated 20 to 40 percent WP.
The clarifier may have a bottom, but it is believed to have leaked, and the exact integrity of the clarifier is not known. Rhodia does not want to remove and treat the wastes from the clarifier because they believe it would be too risky for workers and too
expensive. Corrective action alternatives for the clarifier are being reviewed under a RCRA § 7003 order, and corrective action is expected to be conducted under the order.”

I have looked at this order further on in this post, but the volumes of p4 here once again show that this industry was inept at doing anything with the vast amount of toxic waste generated by this vile process.

The radioactive nuclides measured as a result of this process are noted. Several methods of remediation were being considered, but very little detail at that time.

What is apparent is that Rhodia were fined heavily for their poor handling of this plant as the article below from 2004 demonstrates. No wonder they did not want to move it.

Rhodia fined $18 million for polluting Montana | The Engineer The Engineer

“Rhodia had previously admitted that from January 1999 until August 2000, after the Silver Bow Plant was closed, it illegally stored elemental phosphorus sludge, a hazardous waste, at the site in a large concrete tank known as a 100-foot clarifier. Rhodia has also admitted that it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste, a hazardous waste. The carbon brick and precipitator dust had been discarded from a furnace at the site. The illegal activity was discovered in May 2000, when EPA and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“DE”) executed a search warrant at the Silver Bow Plant.”

This sounds very much like the type of illegal activity that Albright and Wilson were carrying out at Portishead, and appears to be typical of the phosphorus industry at large. It is notable that these chemical companies attempt to hide their activities and liabilities from the regulators, who I would argue were poor at their jobs in failing to detect the issues for the many years of allowing the issue to build.

The article states that Rhodia were being made to remediate all of the hazardous waste including the clarifier waste on the site. “The criminal fine is the largest ever paid for criminal environmental violations in the District of Montana, and one of the largest ever paid for prosecution of hazardous waste crimes in the US.”

But just as Rhodia attempted to blame Albright and Wilson for their liabilities, it appears that they attempted to counter sue the previous owner, who had now become known as “Sanofi- Aventis”.

SANOFI-AVENTIS TO CONTEST RHODIA LAWSUITS IN US, BRAZIL (fdanews.com)

“Rhodia claims to have resolved a US$18mn US lawsuit, which obliged the company to carry out remedial work to contamination at the Silver Bow site. However, costs on the settlement appear to have risen to more than US$24mn, with no precise estimate of the expenses to be incurred on the clean up. Any legal action is thus likely to relate to whether previous agreements allow for further liabilities on sanofi-aventis’ part, while the extent of remedial work required at the Cubatao site remains unclear.”

The judgement is a long bore fest of a read, and a chemical industry squabble of which I do not intend to get into because they are all guilty of negligence as far as I am concerned with their activities, but there are some discernible pieces of information about the plant which are of note.

Rhodia

“Since acquiring the Silver Bow Site in 1998, Rhodia has incurred substantial costs related to its ongoing investigation and remediation of the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 27. In June 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued an administrative order against Rhodia under Section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), requiring the stoppage of environmentally damaging elemental phosphorus leaks at the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 15-17. On December 22, 2003, the EPA issued a Corrective Action Order on Consent to Rhodia, requiring additional environmental clean-up at the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 18-20. On January 12, 2004, Rhodia agreed to a Montana Department of Environmental Quality demand to remove elemental phosphorus contamination at the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 21-22. In May 2004, the EPA issued another administrative order requiring the excavation and removal of sections of a wastewater discharge pipe and the remediation of identified soil pollution at the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 23-25. All of these actions are related to the release of waste when the Silver Bow Site was owned by RPI. Compl. ¶¶ 15-26.
Additionally, in 2004, Rhodia pled guilty to criminal charges and paid over $16 million in criminal fines related to environmental violations on the Silver Bow Site. Compl. ¶¶ 26.”

What is clear from this is that all Rhodia staff in principle positions around the world must have been aware of this matter, including the lying bastards at Oldbury who were spinning us yarns about dying birds at this site, and hiding the fact that it was their white phosphorus in the sediment that was causing it in this very year. Certainly Clamadieu and the other high up Monsieurs in this frog company were fully aware of this matter and of similar issues at other sites around the world that they had acquired through takeover.

When the same site staff at Rhodia had merely transferred from Albright and Wilson, it is no good trying to blame the previous entity for “negligence” when it was those same staff who were negligent to start with. A similar thing occurred with Solvay when they were finally fined for the issues with the uncontrolled release of phosphine gas, many years after the incident had happened when the case had finally come to court. 

Marianne Walsh of the US Army chemical Core of engineers independently reviewed potential treatment technologies for the FMC site in 2009, and mention of the Silverbow site is again noted.

“At the Rhodia Silver Bow Plant near Butte, Montana, at least some excavation of P4-
contaminated soils was conducted. The following quote is from USEPA Region 8 Docket
No. RCRA-08-2004-0003: “Elemental phosphorus and phosphoric acid (collectively
“Phosphorous Material”) observed during excavation, will be drummed at the excavated site, or Pipe with such phosphorus material (and other materials requiring cleaning) will be transferred to the Plant for cleaning, followed by drumming of the removed phosphorus material. Each drum containing elemental phosphorus will be sent offsite for incineration.” Remediation of P4 contaminated matrices at FMC Pocatello , Idaho January 2009. 

It is stated in this report that Rhodia proposed to cap the rest of the P4 contaminated areas; however, the state of Montana wanted the wastes removed.  😐  We certainly are well aware of the Rhodia cheapskate way.

The following document appears to be a community update PR type piece about this site, and other matters relating to the Montana superfund area. “Interim clean up activities have been conducted to address many of the most immediate potential environmental hazards. A facility-wide investigation is in progress to determine appropriate long term remedies. “

This would appear to cover the paper from Marianne Walsh.

SBCButte_16-2011WinterUpdates

A further document from the EPA shows the issued document concerning the clarifier waste and some observations are highlighted below.

Proposed Clarifier Remedy Decision Solvay USA Inc., Silver Bow Plant, Butte, Montana Pursuant to Administrative Order EPA ID No. MTD 057 558 546

1817945

  • “Solvay has proposed this remedy as part of its obligation to address certain wastes at the Facility identified in an administrative order issued by the EPA, pursuant to section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. § 6973, as amended in December 2000 (7003 Order). The EPA is proposing this remedy after consultation with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).”
  • “The 7003 Order required Rhodia Inc., and subsequently its corporate successor Solvay, to evaluate alternatives for closure of an existing waste management unit known as the clarifier. The clarifier is a 100-foot diameter open-topped concrete tank-like structure that holds approximately 500,000 gallons of phosphorus-bearing sludge. According to available information, the clarifier primarily contains sludge generated during production of elemental phosphorus. The materials in the clarifier are referred to as “clarifier sludge.” “
  • “Solvay evaluated closure alternatives for permanent disposition of the clarifier sludge. The alternatives presented in the Supplemental Waste Plan dated October 2015 (Waste Plan) are:
    (1) Enhanced RCRA Cap;
    (2) On-site Phosphorus Recovery using the Mud Still Process; and
    (3) Off-site Incineration.
    Solvay has proposed on-site phosphorus recovery using the Mud Still Process as the
    preferred remedy for the clarifier sludge. The EPA concludes that this on-site phosphorus recovery (hereafter called the Clarifier Remedy) should be proposed. “
  • “The 7003 Order required installation of fencing and signs around the clarifier and other measures, including:
    • installing an automatic water system that ensures a layer of water covers the
    surface of the clarifier sludge within the clarifier at all times;
    eliminating wildlife contact with the clarifier sludge by placing
    approximately 80,000 Bird Balls™ on the water to camouflage its surface; and
    • installation of a continuous phosphine gas monitoring system around the
    clarifier.”

I think that these three orders are important when looking at the situation at Rattlechain lagoon, as of course the sludge was ignitable, was known to poison wildlife, particularly birds, and viable for giving off toxic phosphine gas. Perhaps Rhodia should have been compelled by The Environment Agency to install bird balls. 

  • “Solvay has submitted a Human Health Risk Assessment and an Ecological Risk
    Assessment currently under review by the EPA. Groundwater is currently being monitored site-wide for the presence of hazardous constituents, on a semi-annual basis.”

We have of course seen the same labelled crap at Rattlechain, which was nothing of the sort.

  • “The clarifier is a 100-foot diameter, open topped, in-ground tank-like structure with
    reinforced concrete walls. The clarifier is approximately 12-feet deep and contains
    approximately 500,000 gallons of clarifier sludge. The clarifier sludge consists of elemental phosphorus, water and solids, such as phosphate dust, coke dust, and silica dust. Several feet of water cover the surface of the clarifier sludge to prevent the elemental phosphorus from igniting when exposed to air.”

This sounds very much like the effluent plants at Albright and Wilson, and also the historic waste content at Rattlechain, which was merely watered down to transport it there.

  • The recovery of phosphorus using the mudstill process, which the EPA approved of should ring instant alarm bells given the fact that this method was used by Albright and Wilson in the Portishead decommissioning operation and resulted in the P4 being enriched and creating radioactive dangerous conditions for workers and the wider public. 
  • There is no mention of this possibility in this consultation, so let’s hope Solvay found a better method for p4 recovery than the failed and dangerous Albright and Wilson one!
  • “The Mud Still Process will also produce solid residues containing phosphate ore, coke, silica and other inert materials. After completion of each batch, the mud still residues will be removed from the skip and transferred to containers for storage. Due to potentially leachable metals, this residue may be considered hazardous, or qualify as a hazardous waste. As part of our decision, the EPA will require characterization of the mud still residue during full-scale operation of the mud still to evaluate the potential need for treatment of the residue prior to final disposal”  🙄 

I have to state, that I find this EPA agreed proposal both ludicrous and ill conceived. If the idea was to punish this polluter, then why were they allowed to profit from their criminality by recovering the wastes that they had left behind? Solvay get their “silver lining” by recovering more white phosphorus to just start this environmental nightmare away from this place and time, and create another waste mountain somewhere else that will also have to be dealt with for a future time.  It appears that the containers of waste left behind would also be just more hazardous waste, that would not be free of white phosphorus in any case, whatever they claim.

Unfortunately, it appears that the EPA, like the EA in Britain, can be hoodwinked by chemical industry bull shitters at Solvay and a PR spin piece like this does little to instil any confidence in their regulatory role.

Solvay’s solution appears tailored to their profit margins, with constraints used as excuses, but hey, just stick a silver bow on it and wrap it up.

I’d be very interested to know if mud stilling was ever considered at Rattlechain lagoon for p4 recovery, and if not, if this is the claimed best available technique ,why  it was not employed there by this same global company?  Was it because it was deemed to be too near to the residential dwellings on the former sewage works, and therefore a risk to these occupiers ,where the foolish planning inspector who gave the nod for that development was unable and unquestioning to ask if the development would limit the scope of future remediation site options? 

Further summary of the above material can be read on the EPA website below. I am not sure what actions have been taken at this site since 2017, as there is no further information I have been able to find as to the current status of this so called “clean up”.

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Solvay Silver Bow Plant in Butte, Montana | Corrective Action Sites around the Nation | US EPA

 

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The Gower Tip- Further thoughts and unanswered questions.

DODGY REGULATION

In this post I wanted to look and delve more closely into Sandwell council’s “regulation” of this site whilst it was still being used to deposit waste and subsequently after waste had ceased to be delivered to the site.

A reminder of the key dates concerning this site, as held and publicly published by The Environment Agency is shown below.

The original licence SL32 was passed by The West Midlands County Council on 4/6/1978.

There is a curious and so far unexplained “modification” of this licence which is referred to which occurred on 7th August 1979. I have not been able to find out what this is, or how it impacted on the licence, and Sandwell council did not supply it with the FOI request which is rather strange.

West Midlands County Council were dissolved in 1986, with responsibility then being taken on by local authorities.

The first modification made under Sandwell council control is undated, and also unsigned, which is also highly unusual, unless that is, it was supplied with a deliberately redacted document.

No name or date.

This changed the boundaries of the site as follows, which also means that waste outside of this boundary, tipped before licensing, and after licensing could contain toxic waste outside of this current boundary- i.e the site that Solvay claim to be remediating. This means that there has been no assessment, at least by them of surrounding land since this licence was supposedly surrendered.

The council claimed that the original plan was not held, but here it is for comparison.

As appearing on planning application DC/5064

The original boundary to the sports field is shown, and also reference to the new A&W concrete boundary fence.

The second modification does not even refer to this amendment, which is also bizarre, as though the council had forgotten or deliberately avoided even mentioning the realigned boundary with their own land!

This was passed on 25th January 1990, and added three licence conditions to the licence 37-39. In context, the last supposed deposit of waste according to the EA, (and under SMBC regulatory control) occurred after this on 31/3/1990, (see above table).

Condition 36 imposed landfill gas monitoring within three months of the issue date.

Of course, tipping apparently ceased on the site within this timeframe. 

Condition 37 appears to be entirely dependent on the results of condition 36, and it is highly questionable therefore if these were even supplied to SMBC, who claim they don’t hold any, which is either bullshit, or the idiot who amended this licence did not bank on Albright and Wilson ceasing to tip at the site.

Condition 38 appears to cover such a scenario, calling on ceasing of waste tipping if no design for monitoring had been given within six months. Albright and Wilson however appear to have bypassed this by stopping tipping anyway, so was any monitoring scheme for landfill gas ever conducted by them at the site? If so , why do SMBC claim to not have any info on the scheme which they imposed?

Landfill gas and types of gases were not identified very well in this modification, and should have mentioned hydrogen sulphide, as well as phosphine. Were these ever monitored for, as it seems unlikely?

A further condition 40 was added on 29/11/91 for the 1st December 1991, and was the standard hazardous waste board, which appears to have been rolled out across all the current hazardous waste area sites and required the licence number.

Some three years later on 19/4/94, the licence was apparently surrendered, but no  surrender notice appears to exist according to SMBC, which is also bullshit. 

Sandwell council clearly have some questions to answer about the circumstances of monitoring for landfill gas from this site, and why they do not claim to hold any records, when it was their legal duty to do so?

DODGY NEW PONDS

I don’t believe the creation of these pools has anything to do with collecting surface water.

The waste dumping history of Albright and Wilson reveals that they used this site allegedly from 1938 , and as we know Rattlechain “since 1942”.

The other known canal side site at The Netherton Branch  appears to have been used around the start of the 1920’s, which means that there is another site somewhere between the wars that this company were using for phosphorus contaminated waste.

Though no phosphorus wastes were allowed after licensing, we simply do not know if any went into the Gower Tip at any point, and the fact that the site appears to have been in the footprint of a flooded former marl hole, strengthens the prospect that it was used for this purpose.

The pool is within the Gower Tip area in 1946.

There is an account in the book “Making and Moving in Langley” recalling waste being dredged from collection of the Albright and Wilson Canal arm, and into The G0wer Tip using “tubs” and then a pump.

This obviously raises questions as to what was buried when the water at this site disappeared, and when exactly this took place? “Attenuation ponds” would come in very handy converting phosphorus waste into breakdown products if exposed to air, particularly if the site was to be capped afterwards, thus highly likely to generate phosphine gas. There is reference to testing for phosphine gas at the site, but no explanation as to why this was being carried out given the supposed claimed wastes tipped there under the licence. They do not mention elemental phosphorus.

Maybe the effort to raise the site levels is what this “remediation” is really about. Just don’t try to hoodwink the public with nonsensical pointless schemes when the method implies something more insidious.

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The Gower Tip- burying the past wastes of Albright and Wilson with phoney “remediation”

 

Rhodia , except “Solvay Solutions UK Ltd are the applicants.

It appears that Solvay/Rhodia or whoever the entity in charge of this site like that at Rattlechain is intent on covering up the legacy of one of the worst environmental contaminators to ever come out of the UK- namely Albright and Wilson.

I had exposed the pre spin show bigging up an expected planning application, which for some unknown reason has arrived a month late. Several documents have now been uploaded to the SMBC planning portal, with site notices also posted under the following application.

DC/21/66208 | Proposed remediation works including re-profiling of site, installing cap above underlying waste material to uplift site by 1.4m, with new sub-surface cut off boundary wall along eastern boundary and landscaping. | Land Adjacent Former Sportsground (The Gower Tip) Lower City Road Tividale Oldbury

I will look at each of these in turn, including several reports which largely rehash the same claims , with some of them punctuated by false information and deliberate historic omissions, (particularly of certain chemicals deposited within the site), by Rhodia’s long standing “environmental consultants” ERM, who were behind the 2013 cover up works at Rattlechain.

It should be pointed out that this company was set up in 2004 by a former Environment Agency employee (land policy manager)  involved in creating EA policy on remediation and other matters,  which comes in rather handy when said regulator has consistently failed to monitor, sanction or improve mothballed historic waste sites like this since the mid 1990’s and then a private sector entity is paid handsomely for the privilege of “remediating” them many years later.

The thing about all of these people is their fetish for the acronym and what lies behind these. I would again point out that if this site is currently “safe” to local residents, particularly those living in the Summerton Road Development orchestrated by Morris Homes a few years ago, then why is there any need for “remediation” of a site that has been in this company’s ownership since the licence surrender nearly 30 years ago?

Firstly the application itself, from which we get few clues, and also a sectional drawing..

DC_21_66208-FULL_APPLICATION_FOR_PLANNING_PERMISSION-1156453

DC_21_66208-PROPOSED_SECTION_DRAWING-1158558

It should be noted in whose name this application is made, one Tom Dutton, sometimes “Dr” but not a medical one, a director of the phantom “Rhodia Limited” and health and safety manager during the days of Albright and Wilson themselves, and also in a high profile position when Rhodia were found guilty in court of the off site emission of phosphine gas from their Trinity Street plant. Rhodia of course attempted to lie about this fact with ludicrous semantics. I have a collection of his business cards to demonstrate his long term involvement with these linked companies, crucially when they were still actively depositing waste in The Gower Tip, a timeline that is falsified in the supporting documents for this application as I will prove with direct evidence. He is well aware of what went in there in the 1990’s at least.

Dutton as a health and safety “professional”  openly told gross mistruths at meetings held at Trinity Street about the waste at Rattlechain lagoon, failed to tell me about risks within the site despite being invited into there, (so much for the Health and Safety at Work Act), and of course about the chemical which was later found to be systemically poisoning birds within a site that his company span as being “a safe haven for wildlife”.

He was also caught out when he inadvertently sent me a draft pre-prepared spin letter from Rhodia’s PR officer which attempted to claim that amounts of white phosphorus found within a dead goose found at Rattlechain were “small” , which was hastily rewritten after the APHA concluded that the goose HAD been poisoned by the amount of P4 found.

He also attempted to claim that there were “small amounts” of white phosphorus in the lake, a nonsense he had no doubt repeated by learning from his predecessor , the liar “Dr” Peter Bloore. This phrase was rubbished by actual amounts of weight that were held in site waste returns by the Environment Agency themselves, which I uncovered after putting in an FOI. 

In other words, in my opinion from bitter personal experience, you cannot openly trust anything that this man claims about history, current status or chemical nature of wastes within any site owned by Rhodia/Solvay and those formerly operated by the company that gave him a job in the chemical industry- Albright and Wilson .

Perhaps that’s where the paid “environmental consultants” like ERM come in, who also create deliberate omissions within their reports to better aid their clients objectives. They are of course informed by their paymasters, and can state this in any form of litigation that might arise in the future to relieve themselves, not that the EA bother to check, because , well, that’s their policy not to bother. 😉 Albright and Wilson did this with the Cremer and Warner report, with Bloore grossly lying to this independent consultancy acting on behalf of The Black Country Development Corporation with Rattlechain, at the same time as waste tipping at The Gower Tip was also ceasing. I would state that these two events were linked when their polluting collars were starting to be felt.

There is still no explanation as to why this work is necessary at this time, and after so long since the licence surrender in 1994! “Environmental sustainability” is one of those meaningless buzz phrases which means precisely nothing. For 27 years, why was it thought fine to leave it “unsustainable” by the same company, and the same man making the application? Why is the site not environmentally sustainable in the current condition? How is it going to be sustainable when the aim is to keep it fenced off as private land and a still former waste tip with hazardous contaminated chemicals buried there? 

They want to disturb the materials to put in a cap. Why do they need to do this and put residents under undue risk for little gain when the result will be a fence keeping them out? The cap is the crap way in which they and other companies deal with sites such as this. A cheap form of “remediation”, it ensures that they never have to deal with removing the waste off site- a risk created due to houses being built which never should have been without first proceeding with a remediation which never happened under Albright and Wilson and Rhodia- under Dutton’s direct involvement. 

The proposal to put nearly 1.5 metres of soil on top of that buried is a give away that they are concerned about what is beneath the soil and the risk it poses. “The impermeable barrier” is a curious one given the fact that they have stated that the tip was a former clay pit, which they have stated previously at rattlechain makes it “impermeable” anyway as a result of the marl. They are clearly aware that there is a risk to residents on this estate from this tip, but like as at rattlechain with the birds, do not want to elaborate.

The end use will be exactly the same as the current use making a nonsense of the “environmental sustainability” claim.

On the issue of the history of the site, this is where the first lie is told. The waste did not cease to be tipped in or around 1986, as they are well aware.

The Environment Agency have published a table of waste sites, which although very poor and erased of detail, do refute this bullshit directly.

Processed-historic-landfill-sites-1 (1)

They have also published guidance on how to interpret the acronyms and language used in the tables.

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Let’s look then at the information that the regulator has published in the public domain concerning The Gower Tip.

If you go down the list to number 9100 you will find The Gower Tip listed.

If you scroll across still following site 9100 you will find this.

This lists the site licence number (SL32) of which will be prominently referred to in this post, and was also renumbered 644/99 as shown and also LF0054.

Scroll right a little further, and you will find the following under The Gower Tip site 9100 info.

The vertical columns are defined in the EA guidance as

We can therefore see from this that the claim made by Dutton/ERM in this application is inaccurate about the dates of licence surrender, and also of the last claimed input of waste onto the site- by some four years!

This data indicates that the licence was granted on 4/6/1978, as confirmed in the site licence issued by West Midlands County Council which I have looked at HERE. The first input of waste into the site, under this licence was 31/12/1978 according to the info here. The last input of waste is shown as 31/3/1990. The licence surrender is shown as surrendered on 19/4/1994.

The definitive timeline table therefore is as follows.

Sandwell council also supplied me with the following data sheet for the site from Their contaminated land team in an EIR request about the site that they call LF0054.

 

The rather strange “landfill gas” monitoring statement here appears to suggest that no monitoring whatsoever was done at this site, or if it was, the authority which should have demanded it, even passing an amendment to the site licence do not hold any record of such. Whoever was in charge of SMBC and their landfill sites at this time has serious questions to answer as to why they allowed the licence to be surrendered- when they claim here that “details of remediation- none” is shown. I wonder if the council have been reminded of their total negligence with this site under the Environment Act concerning part 2 A, and this is just a latter day attempt to absolve themselves?

We can therefore see that SMBC appear to hold more accurate information than the useless environmental consultancy and health and safety director of the company concerned, which I find impossible to believe quite frankly. I do hope that the contaminated land team correct the misinformation supplied in the application, which I will be reminding them of, as well as the signed declaration of which they have supplied inaccurate information and facts concerning this site.

REPORTS. 

There are no less than 9 reports written by ERM, many of them containing the same misinformation as highlighted above about site history and waste contents dumped. It is also worth noting that they have all been altered according to the preface on each after “client comments”. We therefore see that Rhodia/Solvay/Dutton have editorial control of what ERM report.

DC_21_66208-NON_TECHNICAL_SUMMARY_REPORT-1156467

Apparently, ERM are “in the business of sustainability”, as well as writing bullshit for industrial polluters.

From the start, the claim that waste tipping ceased in 1986 has been seen to be a lie, as was their claimed date of licence surrender, which occurred a year earlier. If they or their clients cannot even get this publicly available information correct, then why should anyone believe anything else in their reports?

The infilling of the site by BIP is new to me, but during the war and after it anything could have gone into here without record, which makes moving around anything on this site extremely dangerous. A further 40 years of tipping before a waste management licence came along is also troubling. ERM omit concerns about this “contentious site” as revealed in minutes of the WMCC pollution control meeting where the licence was discussed.

Four stages are proposed

1.Remodelling the site surface- this has already started with the bogus clearance of material away from houses in George Wood Avenue which I called out at the time when planning permission had not even been granted.

2. Yet another “cap” to hide the wastes and the disturbance of them

3 Addition of groundwater barrier nearest the houses

4 Tree planting.

The claim that significant excavations will be limited so as not to disturb the underlying waste materials is curious, as it appears to suggest that the authors know that they are harmful- why else would they be minimised? This then poses the question as to “if it ain’t broke, then why “fix it”- as a non-technical summary may describe. No real reason s given as to why this bogus operation is required, other than the company at the time of licence surrender had not appeared to conduct any remediation at all.

It appears that their actions will generate surface water on the site- and therefore a possibility of off site wastes leaving the site.

Local residents can expect these operations to take 9 months with the heavy lifting work of capping 6 months! There will be up to 30 HGV’s depositing material every day which will add extra traffic to an already extremely busy road structure. It does not say from where these vans will operate from, or from where the materials will come from or how they are to be screened. 

  • The first acronym is that of “CEMP” (see below) which roughly translates as B.O.L.L.O.C.K.S.
  • The claims about air quality and risk to residents are utter lies. This was the situation at rattlechain during the remediation works there, and there were several complaints about this at the time from local residents who bordered the site.

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  • They omit any mention of asbestos being buried in the waste materials. They appear to suggest that odours will be released, and to implement mitigation.
  • Badgers setts have been identified at the site. It claims that they have “previously been discouraged” from using the site- so what exactly are they saying here- interference with these setts?
  • Noise impacts are expected close to the houses during the day- great if you are a night worker I’m sure.
  • One of the biggest concerns that I have about these works are the proposed run off of surface water into the River Tame, which is the same culvert via The Brades brook (a Severn Trent Water asset) from which a serious oil pollution affected wildlife in 2020 at Sheepwash Nature Reserve. We have recently seen magenta coloured water entering the Tame from this source, and reported it accordingly. The source has not as yet been identified, and we do not need any other more “invisible” chemical arisings entering from this Severn Trent owned asset.
  • They claim that studies concerning the nature of the wastes have been looked at since 1992, yet none of these appear to be in the public domain or included or even referenced in the ERM reports- why, what did they find, who were the authors, and what are they hiding from omission of information as reported at these times? How for example has the waste risk changed?
  • Their claims about no risk to offsite receptors is rather fanciful based on their omission of facts about the waste contaminants.
  • The montage of images of the view of the site do not appear to show much difference at all, and once again this raises questions as to what Solvay are really trying to achieve with this exercise?

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This is the PR piece “CEMP” and is full of theoretical waffling shite- not least the statement from Solvay. The “Solvay way” does not appear to be very different to me to “The Rhodia Way”, and before that The Albright and Wilson way, which was to dump toxic shit into the environment and then deny responsibility for poisoning, human ill health and environmental damage- so long as you can get away with it.

“Solvay monitors that efficient HSE management systems are implemented at every industrial site”– yeah sure.

When they have lied  in the application about the chemicals in the site that were dumped there, there is little more to be said. 

DC_21_66208-LANDSCAPE___VISUAL_APPRAISAL-1156479

This report looks at the surrounding landscapes and the claimed visual impact of these works. Quite a few pictures of views from different angles, but as such there is little value in this report.

 

DC_21_66208-LAND_QUALITY_ASSESSMENT-1156489

A much rehashed set of information as contained in the other reports, with the same misinformation about historic accuracy. The historic picture shown in the report is very unclear, but the one below demonstrates that the marl pit, like rattlechain was significantly flooded- as shown in the top right of the picture- i.e The Birmingham Old Mainline and the Brades locks from where Alfred Matty boats delivered waste to this and also Rattlechain. The canal basins into the old  brickworks site are also shown.

1946

 

At 3.2 we also get the obscene lie about what types of waste were deposited at the site, from 1978 of course, Albright and Wilson were required to set limits and keep records.

Compare this with the actual licence and the amounts allowed to be deposited during the life of the licence SL32 – i.e between 1978 and 1990

  • They omit phosphorus sesquisulphide-
  • They omit waste contaminated with asbestos
  • The statement of drums of malathion and tribultyl phosphate were never allowed under this licence, and I am not quite certain as to whether this plant had in fact shut down before this licence came into existence? This formed part of the notorious “Oldbury Smell”, a sulphurous stench which stank of Tom cat piss- so will this odour once again be released onto an unsuspecting public? Malathion is also a notorious organophosphate insecticide used in wildlife crime and is carcinogenic. It is also notable that it corrodes metal- which suggests that these long buried drums will have leaked significant quantities of material into the soil itself.
  • Tributyl phosphate was manufactured at Trinity Street under the name “Albrite TBPO4 and is a metal extractant. It is used for the refining of uranium from yellow cake and is used for solvent extraction of a variety of other metals from aqueous streams. It is also found in brake and hydraulic fluid.

The original licence discussion actually states that the risks of phosphorus pentasulphide ( a chemical weapons precursor)  and sesquisulphide at this site were the main reasons as to why it was contentious- BECAUSE THEY REACT BADLY WITH WATER. ERM/SOLVAY omit this ley information, and so do so because it suits them to downplay the potential risks associated with these substances being exposed to moisture.

From minutes of The West Midlands County Council Waste disposal and pollution control committee December 1977

“I Background

This site is a former clay marl hole which has been used as an industrial tip since 1938. The site has received large quantities of toxic and hazardous waste since this time. These are mostly comprised of various compounds of phosphorus together with some radio-active wastes, laboratory chemicals, solvents etc. The site represents the major disposal outlet for the Company’s waste phosphorus pentasulphide and phosphorus susquisulphide (sic).

These waste arisings are the main problem associated with this site since they are highly reactive especially with water. “

The pentasulphide reaction with water produces the toxic gas Hydrogen sulphide as well as phosphoric acid.

P4S10 + 16 H2O → 4 H3PO4 + 10 H2S

  • They also of course omit any mention of the “radioactive wastes” mentioned in this report or any up to date information about what these were or if they remain on site. I asked questions of both the EA and Sandwell council about this, with a very poor and uninformative response. There is not much environmental protection going on at either authority. 
  • At 3.5.1.2 There is the admission of asbestos being found near to the surface, along with metallic drums- as was found in 1990 when the fire brigade did not know anything about the site! They of course do not admit that their clients actually dumped these themselves, and given that liars from Albright and Wilson lied to their staff about the dangers of asbestos, one can only imagine that this was the graveyard for their waste, with those dumping it directly exposed to the chemical!
  • The River Tame is identified as 500m North of the site. I have reported numerous incidents of pollution along this watercourse and from the direction where this site feeds into the Brades Brook. Tracking visible pollution is difficult enough without adding surface water contaminants such as those at this site.
  • They have not conducted a screening exercise on soils, though note that heavy metals, cyanide compounds (which were found to be dumped illegally as this post shows), VOCS and Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons. the levels at location Trial Pit 101 of cyanide appear to be particularly high! The lack of what they consider to be viable pathways to receptors is a good way of not revealing what was actually found and buried on the site.
  • the conceptual site model that these consultants use is nonsense.
  • It is noted that hydrogen sulphide is found in groundwater samples taken, with 5 out of 20 elevated, which confirms the likely source to be from the pentasulphide  drums, though they do not state this.
  • There are some notable circles within the site which have not been recorded as having any borehole coverage- see page 39 for example and you will see this. Have these areas been deliberately avoided because of the previous investigations shown things that would not be helpful to “The Solvay Way” or this application?
  • The idea that there is “no risk to local residents from proposed controls” is again worrying given this chemical company history in failing to do just that. Where is the assessment for radioactive contamination?
  • At 4.3.4 we are told “Given the historical use of the site (i.e a waste disposal site), and the findings of previous site investigations, a range of contamination is known to be present. ” We are not informed of these previous site investigations and what was found.
  • Please do read the end of this document if you can bear to as it considers the effects on human health. What you will see from this is the way in which these consultants operate in talking pages of waffle , of modelling software, algorithms and more acronyms, before finally stating that there may be uncertainty with any assessments. I would imagine that anyone suffering from asthma in these less than 10 year old properties will be at increased risk of exposure from this site when the contractors start work than they are now. I cannot even see any assessments that they make from the results about human health and exposure to the measured concentrations and tolerable levels. They do not give the tolerable levels, so one cannot make an informed judgement as to the levels that were detected.

 

DC_21_66208-BASELINE_AIR_QUALITY_MONITORING_FOR_ODOURS_AND_CONSTRUCTION_IMPACT_ASSESSMENT-1156494

See the source imageWith the prospect of the infamous “Oldbury Smell” being unearthed via rotting buried barrels, one could expect this pussy Pazuzu to expectorate projectile vomit onto an unsuspecting Bullah Way. You will need more than Max Von Sydow to get rid if this is the case, and I do not think the ERM guys are up to the task!

“Given the nature of materials historically deposited at the site, ground disturbance activities have the potential to adversely impact on the health or represent a nuisance to nearby sensitive receptors.” 

See the source image

We are introduced to that scientific term “the sniff test”- yes I suppose it depends on how hard you scratch, because this really is quite ludicrous. Monitoring of a few locations appears to have taken lace in the early part of the year, and not during the summer months when odours would be more prevalent, and dusts emitted more likely.

To try to subjectively assess such matters using equations is utter drivel and obviously to some people, they would be able to sniff out some odours more than others. I myself can sniff out bullshit in reports such as this.

What is clear is that this report mentions a “sulphurous odour” being detected on the Eastern side where they intend creating a pond. This is of course immediately adjacent to properties in George Wood Avenue.

They claim that mitigation will be needed to manage the effects to residents in this area during operations, but their plans are as bare as their ability to sniff out the source of the stench.

If I were a resident of George Wood Avenue, I would seriously consider buying a gas mask, as the stench in Summer with your windows open will become unbearable, and for what- for this joke remediation scheme?

DC_21_66208-BASELINE_AIR_QUALITY_MONITORING_FOR_ODOURS_AND_CONSTRUCTION_IMPACT_ASSESSMENT-1156501

This has been wrongly titled by SMBC and is actually a report on dust and particulate matter and construction impact assessment.

The report sets out derived air quality assessments but does not explain what “PM10” or PM2.5 are. These are particles of less than 10 micrometres in diameter , or in the case of PM2.5, 2.5 micrometres in diameter, and can consist of a range of toxic substances, such as the ones found at this site. More info HERE. 

The advice according to The Government website states

“The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 require that concentrations of PM in the UK must not exceed:

  • An annual average of 40 µg/m3 for PM10;
  • A 24-hour average of 50 µg/m3 more than 35 times in a single year for PM10;
  • An annual average of 25 µg/m3 for PM2.5.”

The ERM study does not look at PM2.5 particles or their health impacts, and is a convenient omission. 

Monitoring of the site was carried out in moist conditions and with vegetation still on site which will be removed. Any readings taken therefore are utterly useless as an indicator for emissions potential from this site during excavation works.

They do not mention asbestos, and this appears to be very convenient for their clients, and they do not mention the “radioactive wastes” that were deposited in the waste stream before licensing either, or give a risk assessment as to how these will be detected or avoided during construction works.

 

DC_21_66208-BASELINE_AIR_QUALITY_MONITORING_FOR_VOCS_AND_CONSTRUCTION_IMPACT_ASSESSMENT-1156490

This report looks at volatile organic compounds, particularly concerning the proposed excavations to create 2 “detention ponds”.

Once again, the consultants speak in tongues about risk by firstly setting the criteria that they consider to be a risk. A statement such as this at 4.2.

“potential….release…off site migration of volatile substances…. medium risk.”

These two detention pools are put forward as a focus to distract attention away from other parts of the site. There is currently no water feature on this site, and the creation of two is more likely to produce breakdown of drums containing pentasulphide and sequisulphide and produce hydrogen sulphide associated with their presence.

How on site workers will be protected should best be looked at at the way in which Albright and Wilson were found guilty under The Health and Safety at Work Act for their “remediation” at Portishead.

Why should local residents be put at increased admitted risk from works that are not required to protect their health,(according to ERM and Solvay)? Why should it be left to chance of one or two people making decisions at the site on any given day?

The problem with the trial pitting carried out in the areas stated is that it appears that only four samples were taken and analysed, and there is no mention as to the depth that these were taken from or how much  contained any moisture. There are issues of accreditation on many tests with the laboratory used who received samples from the site 4 days after collection. The laboratory offer no insight into any of the results, and this is therefore left to ERM who cobble together their own derived conclusions.

 

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This report states “A badger exclusion was completed under licence in July 2017 , after which the site was fenced and all excluded setts were destroyed and backfilled” 

There is no mention as to the method of “exclusion”, is this a code for killing them?

This report confirms that badgers have returned to the site, with a new active sett. This gives this company a major problem concerning the works and their proposed early 2022 timescale as the ERM report states that licences to remove setts are only granted by Natural England between 1st July and November 30th. The date mentioned on the SMBC website for determination deadline is Friday 21st January  2022. The timeclock for Solvay for this application being decided is therefore ticking like an AW bomb,…..

There is a similar issue with the breeding bird season, with the chainsaw Charlies having to be active before this, if the application was approved.

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The job title “acoustic consultant” is certainly a new one on me.  😛

This is another rather pointless tick box exercise is measuring existing noises around the site, in what is a mixed use of new residential properties (which should never have been built), and industrial units. There are many technical terms in this report of which I do not profess to understand or even care about, and it is one for the nerds only.

The point of all this of course is to claim that the proposed works lasting 9 months will have limited impact on the residential occupiers, but I’m sure that the extra noise of HGV deliveries and the banging of flaps when the trucks are emptied, WILL be notable to local residents, as they were to those at Rattlechain, when they were on site doing the same thing there.

So that is it folks. You have until 17th November to object to this crap by visiting the Sandwell council planning portal and searching for DC/21/66208 . I certainly will be, and it will only need two more objections to put this bullshit under the scrutiny that it deserves without it being “delegated” to an officer of the council who knows nothing about the history of the site or its contents, and is reliant on the misinformation supplied by the applicants and their environmental consultants.  

 

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Albright’s toxic archives#34 Polluters’ pals in the commons

Only this week we have seen the stench of corruption engulf politics and one who was caught out lobbying for two companies in a paid role standing down, not after admitting any wrong doing, but after the public outrage that his mates were attempting to change the rules to save him, a system that they had created to supposedly “independently” scrutinise conduct within the house.

But being in the pay of companies is not a new thing with this lot, as this timely post demonstrates. Indeed, could there be a more toxic union of that involving a well known chemical industry polluter, and the politicians of Westminster; that corruption filled stench of a place in London?

I have already highlighted how this failing company courted the political class and had amongst their workforce political “friends” in high places, even with the disgusting freak Quaker families who gave the phosphorus contaminators their name. John Wilson rubbed shoulders in the commons in the early 20th Century, but this would not be the last boy that they had in a place of prominence. Even Arthur Albright attempted to get a seat in this rat den of vile individuals , but thankfully failed, which I will look at in another post.

This post deals with two Parliamentarians , a Tory and a Labour man who were both on the Albright and Wilson payroll in the late 1980’s/90’s. You could say that this company were covering their backs by having both parties on board, at a time when their empire was coming to an end.

The Daily Mirror of 20th July 1989 exposed Jack Cunningham (Labour) and Alan Haselhurst (Conservative) as both being in a paid role outside of their own political theatre for the Oldbury based polluter.

The excellent piece by Paul Foot shows what hypocrisy these two showed in being showered with doe by one of the worst polluters in the country.

It references another toxic archive that I have looked at HERE, concerning how the terrorists of Albright And Wilson had been found guilty of allowing radioactive dusts to get into the environment at their disastrous Portishead “clean up” decommissioning operation. “This caused untold, perhaps possibly lethal damage to the company’s own workers” 

Foot also correctly stated that the reward for shareholders of this vile polluter was paid out two years earlier to their American owner- thus they were profiteering out of this company causing physical damage to their own staff. If you look back however at the very long list I have evidenced on this website about Albright’s toxic archives, including that at Rattlechain lagoon, as well as the delivery of waste to the site, you can see that they were never a responsible operator to start with, and directly lied to their staff about risks, as well as the public.

The piece mentions a direct quote from the Tory representing Saffon Walden- a market town in Essex, with no obvious connection to any Albright and Wilson establishment in its area.

He stated in a debate concerning  Motor Vehicles (Air Pollution) a year earlier that “there is a growing need to protect the environment”.

Here is the direct link to his contribution which also revealed that he was an advisor to Johnson Matthey PLC- another speciality chemicals provider in the automotive industry, who had  a very dodgy subsidiary Johnson Matthey Bankers . Bailing out these (w)ankers appears to be a very Conservative tradition.

But what was Haselhurst actually doing for Albright and Wilson? We find out a little more some 7 years later in  the Saffron Walden Weekly News of 16th May 1996. 

Here he bemoans that he was not “spying” for the company in terms of their industrial rivals, as A Sunday Times article had appeared to suggest. His tally of advice has now also grown to National Power. His advice according to him involved giving the companies a heads up on any legislation, which would in reality be legislation that would cost them more and disadvantage them. At what point he may then have acted on their behalf in order to water down said legislation is open to debate. “Explaining Parliamentary procedure” may also have involved him setting up cosy little meetings between executives and prominent legislators.

You can see why people rightly called this out and he appears to have done no favours to himself in the process.

Hazelhurst would later be embroiled in the MP expenses debacle where The Daily Telegraph exposed how he ran up a £12,000 gardening bill care of the thicko taxpayers. Let’s hope he wasn’t using industrial quantities of Monsanto’s Round up- that cancer causing product that Albright and Wilson made a key ingredient for.

MPs’ expenses: Alan Haselhurst’s £12,000 gardening bill (telegraph.co.uk)

As for Cunningham, I have already highlighted articles in the abhorrent Albright World newspaper , which as I have pointed out before set out to dupe and lie to their staff about many issues including exposure to chemicals made and used at the company.

“He told them that Dr Cunningham, who was his Parliamentary Private Secretary during Mr Callaghan’s government, was “constantly preaching about A+W’s virtues and is a very good advertisement for you”  🙁 

These were earlier in his career, but the articles below run chronologically after the Daily Mirror piece.

The first comes from The Newcastle Journal, and is dated 3rd October 1989.

Cunningham was Labour’s shadow environment secretary. You could ask what fucking hypocrite of an MP would want to have links to one of the worst polluters in Britain- well  over to the MP for Copeland. It again highlights the issues at Portishead, though not the many disasters at Oldbury, as well as activities in his own back yard at Whitehaven, which would have dire consequences for them as we shall see. Cunningham also served for the Sellafield plant in his constituency and was an advisor for British Nuclear Fuels.

The pollution of The Irish Sea issues would be taken up sensationally by Greenpeace who led campaigns to highlight the abysmal Albright and Wilson pollution from Whitehaven. This rocked the company , and their pathetic lamentations and denials at the time cannot have looked very good on an MP who was “advising” them.

The second article again puts Cunningham under pressure and the same newspaper of 10th October 1991 again exposes his links to environmental savages. Greenpeace were clearly putting pressure on this AW agent . Labour voters themselves were not happy with his links to the phosphorus making scumbags and were making that known in internal polling. The guile of the man however claims that his personal efforts had reduced discharge limits due to his “advice”. Oh yeah, what a pile of shite! Did he suggest any ways of stopping birds being poisoned at a certain lagoon in Oldbury where the company in question were depositing toxic waste?

Unfortunately, his seat did not come under threat and his work for this company would end at least officially when Labour won the general election of 1996 and he became Environment Secretary. Both men now sit in the House of Lords after being awarded peerages.

Clearly we can see how dirty polluting businesses get on in life, they just need a little help from their friends in high places. 

 

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White phosphorus misadventures #9 Phosphorus Jack

 

 

A curious tale from down under concerning an Antipodean ignis fatuus in human form.

It appears that in Christchuch, New Zealand something strange was stalking the lands in the Australasian Winter of 1905, as revealed in two articles from The Lyttelton Times. 

The first from 31st July names the phenomenon as “Phosphorus Jack” and reports on several sightings of the phantom of the night. The first sighting was by a young girl who disturbed a masked intruder wearing a coat laced with phosphorus.

Another sighting saw a woman spooked by the same phosphorus flasher villain with the words “are you prepared to die” written in phosphorus in the coat. The police were involved in the reports but dismissed them as imagination.

 

But the sightings persisted into October of that year and the 7th day of that month revealed that more disturbing visitations had been made.

So were these sightings real, or just the hallucinations of a bunch of ugly face pulling fat tongue wagglers on the grog?  We will never know, but I think that the phenom may be still out there somewhere.

Of course, Rattlechain lagoon has its very own phosphorus jack, or Willy Peter as he prefers to call himself. If the tramp is disturbed, he will get very agitated and spontaneously combust. I feel a John Houseman story narration coming on.

 

 

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The Sheepwash story – Rewilding metamorphosis-From industry to nature

This post features on The Friends of Sheepwash Nature Reserve site, and is an example of how industrial areas can be remodelled for nature instead of creating yet more unsustainable housing on old tips. A much preferable option to those being touted in the so called “Black country plan” on land adjoining Rattlechain lagoon.

We are indebted to Tipton Historian Keith Hodgkins for a set of photos which he allowed us to use on this website. Keith is well known for his books on Tipton in collaboration with John Brimble, and the background to his story and interests in the area can be read HERE.

The following article sets the scene and was written by Keith in the magazine Black Country Connections. It gives a summary history of Sheepwash, and the changes that have taken place over the last 100 years, and even before that.

Black Country Connections article by Keith Hodgkins AUG-SEPT 2018

We have also traced more photos and documentation dealing with the site and set this out in chronological order. What this shows is that industrial landscapes blighted by former use CAN be transformed into something more positive, rather than the other way around.

The following picture is taken from the book Conurbation, a planning survey of Birmingham from 1948 and was taken as part of a train journey from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.  We can see from this the flooded and fairly desolate area in front of the Pumphouse Brickworks and the engine house on the right of the picture. The stacks in the distance to the left are The Canal Brickworks.

Crown Copyright 1948

Also recorded here is what appears to be the creation of The Denbigh Estate off The John’s Lane Farm. The fieldhouse building is to the right of the picture in John’s Lane.

Crown Copyright 1948

The picture below shows a different angle of the site.

Taken 8/4/1954 © Keith Hodgkins

With the demise of brickmaking, the area became flooded with the cessation of pumping in the main pumphouse pit. West Bromwich Council bought the land in the 1960’s for use as a tip, which was largely unsanctioned building and industrial waste by contractors and the council itself.

Picture Chris Adams showing the flooded marlhole. The swan village gas holder is shown in the distance.

The following is taken from  “A part of nature The greening of derelict industrial land- rehabilitation policies in Britain and Germany”  Anglo-German Foundation. 

“With reorganisation of local government in 1974, the newly formed WMCC became the waste disposal authority. Ownership of most of the site was transferred to the WMCC, which continued tipping operations until 1978. At that stage, the pumphouse pool was approximately 5 ha in area, with steep sided banks made entirely of domestic refuse. Below water level, the banks shelved away steeply to depths greater than 12 m. Water quality was poor as a result of leachate from the refuse. Waste deposits covered the site to a maximum depth of 20m, and comprised a mixture of degradable waste (domestic refuse, parks waste, slaughter house waste and building waste and contaminated waste chemicals, drums of toxic materials, oils and tars etc.). Of the estimated 1.5-2 million m³ of domestic waste, at least 500,000 m³ were biodegradable and capable of producing landfill gas.”

Site investigations in 1979 concluded that the site was unsuitable for residential or industrial development due to the dereliction and site contamination, whilst issues with the River Tame demanded flood prevention schemes being required.

A series of planning applications reveal the timescale of these improvement works. Unfortunately at present, the detail surrounding these is not available due to council restrictions on access.

DD/12405 | Reclamation of derelict land by the tipping of building waste & other materials. | Derelict land at Sheepwash Lane Tipton.

This application dates from September 1980. No decision notice is shown on the council website, which was rather odd. I put in a freedom of information request to SMBC in this regard asking for this, which can be read HERE. 

The council stated “With regard to DD/12405 this application
was not determined as the proposed reclamation scheme was superseded by
the submission and subsequent grant of permission for ref: DD/15197.”

DD/15197 The reclamation of derelict land & the construction of balancing lakes including the infilling of the existing pool with inert materials to reduce water depth from 10 to 3 metres. The whole area is to be contoured and landscaped. Land off Sheepwash Lane Great Bridge, Tipton.

This was decided on 20th October 1982 with no conditions, (as confirmed by SMBC in the FOI request), which is again rather odd given the scope of the work involved. I would like to know what the “inert materials” actually were. This decision notice can be read HERE. 

This application generated a waste management site licence. SL434 . I again put in an FOI to SMBC concerning this and the map of the area which they responded to. 

“The plan shows the landfill boundary superimposed over present day mapping
(accurate to the date of issue) and hence should provide the requested
information.”

THIS MAP CAN BE VIEWED HERE.

The supplied waste management licence shows that it was issued on 30th September 1983 by The West Midlands County Council . This had two schedules. Schedule A had 38 conditions, with Schedule B which contained 3 general clarification points about waste types and procedures. 

In schedule A there are mentions of plans, maps and a supplementary information document, (not supplied with the request and which the council claim not to hold which I am somewhat dubious about given that they made the application!).

 

A modification adding another condition 39 was made on 24th November 1983 which appears to relate to tipping and health and safety conditions in relation to the overhead powerlines. This would appear to have been an oversight on the part of the original licence and the difficult unmoveable objects that unfortunately had been erected many years before. Perhaps we can speculate that there may have been some near misses with works taking place, and the County Council wanted to make sure they were not liable for any serious accidents or deaths?

Before these applications we can get a good view of what Sheepwash was like from The Rose Lane area as witnessed in photographs taken by Keith on  24/3/1983. NB this was 6 months before the waste management licence was approved.

© Keith Hodgkins

At this stage the River Tame ran differently, as shown in the diagram below. As part of the transformation this was redesigned for flood alleviation purposes, and you can see why.

© Keith Hodgkins

Horses are grazed and a ramshackle stables appears on part of what is now the Rose Lane meadow. The River would now be to the left of where it is shown here. The pylon VT25 in what is now the Rose Lane Pylon pool would be rebuilt in a slightly different position in the 2010’s.       .

© Keith Hodgkins

I am reliably informed that this bridge across the river had holes in it and was in very poor condition. This bridge area I believe would equate to where the path from Elizabeth Road leads down to now.

© Keith Hodgkins

The Pumphouse pool as it was, crossed by overhead powerlines and the angle tower VT24. Behind this are the Ocker Hill power station towers which were demolished in the 1980’s. Keith took a spectacular close up view of these before they were taken down which is shown in his living memory page. What we can see from this is that there are no islands and the area is very wild.

© Keith Hodgkins

A striking image and contrast of two structures with the River Tame dividing them. On the left, the angle tower VT24 which is still there of course in what is now The John’s Lane meadow. On the right are the remains of the engine house from the pumphouse brickworks seen in the earlier picture. Another image of this structure can be seen HERE. A similar structure at Bumble Hole/Warrens Hall Nature Reserve was retained there. I remember this structure vaguely from this time, but it was demolished with the works. Perhaps this was an opportunity missed to preserve Sheepwash’s industrial past?

Newspaper articles promoting the new wildlife site began to emerge, as well as a council leaflet. 

Published: Friday 31 October 1986 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail

 

Published: Friday 16 December 1988 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail

The early 1980’s landscaped pools and islands.

 

The Anne Close entrance with Newtown School on the left. Children from the school would plant trees around the border of the site.

An early sign near to Anne Close.

Further works would commence with the creation of The Black Country Development Corporation who would use the site as a PR marketing tool for themselves with their frankly disastrous environmental blight activities across the area such as the Black Country Route. Sheepwash won a Royal Town planning award for the creation of the urban park.

Pumphouse pool before landscaping

 

Pumphouse pool After landscaping

BCS0468 | Derelict land reclamation as part of the development of Sheepwash urban park. | Land rear of Triplex Foundry Sheepwash Lane Great Bridge.

The decision notice for this Northern part of the site can be viewed below.

BCS0468-BCS468-73716 (1)

The allotments area was also re-landscaped. It does appear that this phase of the project ran out of ideas or money as this area is certainly the most vacant area of the site.

With the pumphouse pool being transformed and shallowed, we can see that a haul road was used from what is now termed “the spit” area by bird watchers on the site. It appears that the central islands were created as part of this process. This picture must date from the early 1980’s.

The following aerial panorama was taken as a picture and is held at Sandwell park Farm. I was gratefully sent this by the senior countryside ranger for use on this website. I have scanned the pictures individually to remake the one photo. Although small to see, if you click on each in turn, you can make out much more detail. Of course , the lack of tree cover is the most notable feature of the newly created layout, and it reminds me of a sculpted cake decorated with blue icing and island green  “cherries”. I would estimate that this picture was taken in the mid to late 1980’s. The old brickworks engine house is gone, and in its place “the pumphouse” where the lake levels could be controlled. This in itself would be demolished with a fenced off open structure put in its place in the 2010’s by The Environment Agency.

The creation of the site on an old tip would not be without its problems due to methane gas being present, as this article from 1990 attests. There would be methane drains built around the perimeter of the site and monitoring of levels. On 21/4/1990 a further modification was made to the SL434 site licence as supplied by Sandwell Council in the FOI request, but this doesn’t make sense at present as conditions 33-36 concerning landfill gas do not appear to correlate with that licence? This is part of why such sites could not be built on to form houses, and it is a problem in other areas around this site.

Published: Wednesday 12 September 1990 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail

Keith Hodgkins returned to the site and took this picture, which dates from 1991. This shows that the islands on both pools have taken shape and swans can be seen on the middle island on John’s Lane pool. Tree cover is still sparse but starting to grow. Thirty years later the site is unrecognisable from the industrial legacy that once had its footprint there as the only Local Nature Reserve in Tipton. .

© Keith Hodgkins

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