A suggestion in a UK national newspaper that neutralised chemicals from the Syrian arsenal will arrive in Ellesmere Port aboard a 12,800-ton US naval vessel is not accurate, according to the Pentagon.

It was revealed earlier in the year that 150 tonnes of materials known as precursors which could be used to create chemical weapons were to be removed from the war torn country and transported to Veolia on Bridges Road.

They would be destroyed at 1,150ºC in the company’s state-of-the-art incinerator, with only carbon dioxide and water left at the end of the two week process.

Veolia executive director David Lusher has dismissed fears over the arrival of the chemicals, reassuring campaigners they will be overseen by international observers and comply to strict safety regulations.

Mr Lusher said: “The materials of themselves are standard industrial grade chemicals.

“They are no different in terms of their properties to many of the materials we have taken on the site today, this week, last week or last year.

“This site processes around 100,000 tonnes of materials every year supporting local industries.

“We are talking about 150 tonnes out of 100,000, so nothing is materially different except for perhaps the profile these materials have.”

Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller has repeated his confidence in Veolia pointing to the site’s unblemished safety record since it opened in Ellesmere Port 23 years ago.

The US Department of Defense is deploying the Cape Ray, a 648 ft converted container ship which has been fitted with specialist equipment to neutralise the more serious chemicals removed from the country.

US naval ship Cape Ray
 

More than 60 experts from the US Army’s chemical biological centre will be involved in the process.

The report suggested the vessel would then sail to Ellesmere Port to enable some residues to be incinerated.

Pentagon press officer Jennifer D Elzea told the Pioneer “Cape Ray will take aboard and neutralize approx 600 metric tons of chemical agent and precursor from Syria's stockpile.

“The effluent from the Cape Ray's onboard field deployable hydrolysis systems will be delivered to Germany and Finland for further processing and elimination once Cape Ray has done her work.

“The materials being destroyed in England are separate and apart from what is going aboard Cape Ray.

“Cape Ray will not be in UK ports for any reason. None of the materials aboard are going to the UK.

“The Danish ship Ark Futura will deliver approximately 150 tonnes of material to the UK, per their agreement with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons”.

Veolia has confirmed the materials to be destroyed in the Ellesmere plant will arrive at a military port elsewhere in the country.