Date of meeting: 30 november 2005
Document type: Report
Committee: Safety and Licensing Panel

View text-formatted section of this report, which retains the formatting of the original document
View text-formatted section of this report, which retains the formatting of the original document

Abstract (plain text version of the report)


1. Summary

An application has been made for the Council’s assent to the establishment of a Magazine for explosives at the address as given above. This report invites the Panel to determine the application having heard from the applicant and any objectors having regard to health and safety matters only.

2. Background

The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (“2005 Regulations”) which came into effect on 5th April 2005 regulates the manufacture, keeping, sale and importation of explosive substances and confers wide powers for their control. The manufacture, keeping, use and transportation of explosives is also governed to a large extent by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which makes further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work and for controlling the keeping and use of explosives, or highly flammable or otherwise dangerous substances. The 1974 Act established the Health and Safety Executive and certain functions relating to explosives were transferred to the Health and Safety Executive. In particular these include the granting of Licences, the receiving of notification of accidents and the appointment of inspectors.

2.1 However Local Authorities still retained certain powers under the Explosives Act 1875, now through the 2005 Regulations and thus their consent is required for the establishment of a new factory or magazine.

2.2 The 2005 Regulations requires that a Licence must be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before an explosives factory or magazine can be put into operation. When the details of a suitable draft Licence have been settled between HM Inspectors of Explosives and the Applicant, the latter must send a copy of the draft licence to the Local Authority in whose area the manufacture or storage is proposed to take place.

2.3 When the details of a suitable draft Licence have been settled between the Health & Safety Executive and the Applicant then the latter is given permission to apply to the appropriate Local Authority (in this case, the County Council) for their assent to the establishment of a factory or magazine on the proposed site.

2.4 The details of a suitable draft Licence have been settled between HM Inspector of Explosives and Primera Marketing Limited, as the applicant, for the establishment of an explosives magazine for the storage of up to 82,500 kilograms of fireworks at Bury Court Farm 2, Redmarley, Gloucestershire.

2.5 Under the Legislation, the Applicant is responsible for the publication of a notice, drawing attention to the fact that an application under the 2005 Regulations has been made to the Local Authority. The publication, which must incorporate certain specified information ie each such notice should state that the draft Licence and plan or a correct copy – can be inspected by interested persons at the place and time specified in the notice. In this case, the notice was published, by the Applicant, in a local newspaper, the Citizen on 25th August 2005.

2.6 Formal representations made via the HSE required the re-advertising of the application, giving a further period when the documentation could be inspected. The further notice appeared in the Citizen on 21st September 2005.

2.7 The HSE are satisfied that the Applicant has complied with his obligations under the 2005 Regulations and thus the application may proceed.

2.8 The Applicant should also take ‘other reasonable steps’ to inform both residential and commercial residents within the ‘public consultation zone’ (the public consultation zone is defined within the 2005 Regulations as being an area equivalent to double the area).

2.9 Any person intending to make representations in relation to the application and to the assent to the Licence must, within the 28 day of the notice published, write to the Local Authority. If there are representations, which are neither frivolous nor immaterial, the Local Authority must hold a hearing, to which the HM Inspector of Explosives may attend to assist with any technical questions.

2.10 The Local Authority is under a duty to advise both the Applicant and the HSE if any representations are made to it following publication; no representations have been received.

2.11 Although the Local Authority have received no representations in respect of the assent application, for the sake of transparency, a hearing has been convened to determine the application.

2.12 A Notice of intention to hold a hearing of the assent application was published in a local newspaper, the Citizen on 28th October 2005, and both the HSE and the Applicant have been notified.

2.13 The Local Authority must notify the applicant and the HSE of its decision within 7 days of making it (if the Local Authority have not so advised the Executive within either 3 months from receipt of the application documentation or 2 months from the panel hearing, the HSE will give the Local Authority 28 days from the HSE written request for the Local Authority’s decision; failure to communication their decision will lead to the presumption of assent being given).

3. The Application

3.1 The application before the Committee is for an explosives magazine, holding no more than 82,500 kgs of commercial fireworks of Hazard type 4 explosives i.e. an explosive which, as a result of or as a result of any effect of, the conditions of its storage or process of manufacture, has a fire hazard or slight explosion hazard, or both, with only local effect.

3.2 The site is situated in the rural area of Redmarley, Gloucestershire accessed by a single track, adjacent to two disused barns.

3.3 The magazine will be spread via 8 x ’20 foot’ steel freight containers, 5 of which have a 12,000 kg capacity, the remaining 3 having a 7,500 kg capacity, which area earth strapped and double padlocked. The floors and walls are lined with wood and the internal surfaces, either lined, painted or otherwise treated so as to present a smooth grit-free surface free from crevices.

3.4 The nearest residential property is 150 metres away from the site; a total of 5 residential properties are within a radius of 500 metres.

3.5 The draft licence makes provision for damaged boxes or cartons of explosives; stability and distance between freight containers, any other buildings or similar structures (see conditions 16, 17 and 18 respectively)

3.6 In preparing this report, the views of both the Explosives Liaison Officer of Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Head of Risk and Planning of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service have been sought, both of which have made various recommendation (see background papers annexed)

3.7 The Explosives Liaison Officer observes that:

3.7.1 The container doors have no lighting protection measures attached to them;

3.7.2 There is no concrete base to the site;

3.7.3 The containers have been incorporated as part of the security fencing rather than some distance from the security fencing;

3.7.4 The security fence does not meet the current Police Standards;

3.7.5 There are no warning signs displayed (a local agreement has been made between the Police and the operator that no sign would be displayed on site due to its remote location);

3.7.6 There is no monitored Alarm system.

3.8 The ADO/Head of Risking and Planning at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Services observations are that:

3.8.1 The perimeter fence should prevent immediate access to the containers and the area be kept clear of combustible rubbish and vegetation;

3.8.2 Flexible electrical conductors should be provided to ensure common bonding between the metal doors and the mainframe of the containers;

3.8.3 A separate storage contained should be provided for damaged cartons or fireworks awaiting disposal or re-packing;

2.8.4 Due to the nature of the site and limited water supplies, any response by the Fire and Rescue Service would be defensive and would be aimed at preventing fire spread to other containers only;

3.8.5 That a method of working statement should be provided or an existing statement extended to include the site under consideration.

3.9. The Committee is respectfully reminded that their remit is in relation to health and safety issues only

4. Powers

4.1 The Committee may dissent altogether from the establishment of the magazine on the proposed site, or assent thereto, either absolutely or on any conditions requiring additional restrictions or precautions in respect of Health and Safety matters only.

4.2 The Committee’s decision should be supported by clear grounds and where necessary clear conditions

5. Recommendations

The Committee is invited to determine the application in light of the information before it.

6. Background Papers

(i) The draft licence (Appendix 1)

(ii) The application (Appendix 2)

(iii) Copies of the local newspaper adverts (Appendix 3)

(iv) Copy letter sent to residents in the public consultation zone and plan showing locations (Appendix 4)

(v) Report from ADO B. Heaney, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service (Appendix 5)

(vi) Site Report from PC G. Taylor and Security Written Recommendations from PC B. Lloyd, Gloucestershire Constabulary (Appendix 6)

Nigel Roberts, Head of Legal and Democratic Services

Dated: 21st November 2005

Ref: BLB/39070

Contact Officer: Bridgette Boucher, Lawyer (Planning), Environmental Services Team, Gloucester (01452-426182)