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Darren contacts Government on Avara

Darren wrote to the Government on his concerns around the future of the Avara site near Bristol. This is what he said:

Dear Secretary of State,

A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the insolvency of Avara Avlon Pharmaceutical Services Ltd, a pharmaceutical company that employs 270 people in Bristol.

The constituents who have contacted me are concerned about the cost of the clean out and clean-up of the site they use, and the fact that taxpayers may have to foot the bill for doing this. I am told that Avara Avlon is classed under the Control of Major Accident Incident (COMAH) Regulations as upper tier due to the inventory of toxic materials. In order to close the site in a safe manner all flammable and toxic material will have to be removed from site, the chemical plant and storage tanks cleaned and the effluent waste safely disposed of, and then the site can either be mothballed or demolished. The demolition option will require skilled personnel as there is a significant amount of asbestos in the older plant and buildings to be dealt with. The land will then need to be returned to as near original condition which may involve the removal of contaminated soil.

The constituents who have contacted me request that there is a change to the law to make it illegal to transfer ownership of a high hazard site to a third party without firstly posting a bond with either a Government department or agency, to cover all costs associated with closing down, cleaning out and remediating a site.  That would then stop the bill being picked up by the Government in the future – is this something that the Government will consider introducing?

Thanks for taking the time to read my email and I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Darren Jones MP

Member of Parliament for Bristol North West”

And here’s the Government response: