A TORY candidate has welcomed the prosecution of Shell UK after a “toxic” gas leak.
Stuart Penketh spoke out after the oil giant admitted allowing the gas to escape through a corroded pipe at its Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port.
The firm pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court and will be sentenced on March 12.
The incident happened on May 29, 2003 when 20 tonnes of isobutene mixed with 150kg of hydrofluoric acid escaped into the atmosphere from the HA Alkylation plant. No one was injured.
Mr Penketh, who is the borough’s Conservative Parliamentary candidate, congratulated the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on its successful prosecution.
He said: “Shell is a major employer for the area and should be allowed to run its business without too much regulation. However, this is one time I commend the HSE.
“Businesses have a duty to look after their employers, the area in which they work and the local population.
“Shell failed in this duty. It may have been a temporary lapse but it was a lapse that put a large proportion of the populace in danger.”
Meanwhile, Mr Penketh has welcomed the news that provision is being made for a Travellers’ camp in the borough.
He said: “It would mean our police are not having their finite resources being stretched with having to move on the Travelling groups in this borough, more than any other part of Cheshire.
“With no more trespassing on sites, community cohesion between Travellers should improve. This is what we campaigned for and it is great to see the council has listened.”