Wiltshire Publications

Cement works demolition safe, authorities say

AUTHORITIEShave reassured local residents that demolition at the former cement works is being closely monitored, after some people in the town expressed concerns about pollution.

Demolition of the cement works started last month, following the announcement that most of the site is going to be sold off. The chimney is expected to be knocked down in May.

Concerns had been raised about asbestos, cement dust and polluting chemicals and dioxins being released into the environment by the works.

But the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council  issued a joint statement to White Horse News last week, confirming that guidelines and supervision were in place.

A spokesperson said, “The Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council are working together to ensure the planned demolition works at the site are conducted safely and follow all necessary guidelines.

“All works carried out at the site will be closely monitored and the demolition of the redundant parts of the cement works is taking place in a controlled manner.

“Prior to any building or structures being demolished, Tarmac’s demolition contactor the Cuddy Group have been required to produce detailed method statements which include the identification and safe removal of any hazardous substances such as asbestos from the building or structure before demolition work begins, and to ensure its safe disposal off site.

“The Environment Agency is currently in discussions with Tarmac regarding the surrender of Westbury Cement Works’ environmental permit for the production and grinding of cement clinker.”

The site has caused concern in the past, notably when Lafarge, which operated the works for a number of years, was given an enforcement notice by the Environment Agency in 2006 for failing to meet emission limits when burning tyres.

Tarmac, which now owns the site and is overseeing the demolition, has published information about its demolition in a statement to Wiltshire Council, and in public project updates. The firm says that it will be using water sprays to control dust emissions, and that hazardous materials will be removed before demolition starts, in accordance with strict environmental controls.

The company has also said that it will keep an ongoing record of activity and conditions at the site.

Details of the chimney demolition have not yet been released.