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Thread: Toxic ships may head for the Mersey to die

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Default Toxic ships may head for the Mersey to die

    Toxic ships may head for the Mersey to die
    Apr 3 2006
    EXCLUSIVE by Rob Merrick, Daily Post

    THE Mersey estuary has been pinpointed as an ideal site for a new money-spinning industry to dismantle toxic "ghost ships" from across Europe, the Daily Post can reveal.

    A government study said the Wirral area's rich shipbuilding history gave it the skills to establish a permanent recycling centre for ageing ships heading for the scrapheap.

    It is estimated the industry could be worth 3.5bn in the coming years, with 30 warships and nearly 400 EU-flagged single-hulled tankers due to be scrapped.

    Ministers admit it is no longer acceptable to rip apart Britain's defunct ships - often containing lead and asbestos - in appallingly dangerous conditions on beaches in India and Pakistan.

    But such a centre would be controversial in the wake of the row over the towing of four toxic American vessels to the North-East. The strategy has been drawn up by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as the 2010 deadline nears for dismantling Britain's remaining single-hulled tankers.

    A consultant's report to Defra identified several sites "in and around" Birkenhead that were suitable for dismantling ships.


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    Only Tyneside and Teesside, in the North East, could rival Wirral for their vital experience in "shipbuilding and other heavy industrial activity", it said.

    The study concluded: "There is scope to utilise these skills at the opposite end of the lifecycle, to recycle ships".

    A shipbuilding yard first opened in Birkenhead in 1824, the forerunner of the world-famous Cammell Laird yards which stretched down the Mersey.

    However, the industry declined dramatically in the 20th century, resulting in the closure of the last Cammell Laird shipyard in 1993.

    A year ago, Defra launched a search for the best location for a state-of-the-art recycling facility in Britain - a hunt that has now focused in on Wirral and the North East.

    Its study, which is out to consultation for three months, says ministers would "welcome the establishment of compliant and economically viable ship recycling facilities in the UK".

    It added that a "number of facilities" had expressed an interest, but suggested an ability to decommission oil rigs might also be needed to make such a business profitable.

    Ben Bradshaw, a junior environmental minister, said: "Significant changes must be made if Government-owned and commercial ships are to be recycled in acceptable conditions."

    The debate over ship recycling was sparked by the furore that greeted the towing of the four defunct American ships to Hartlepool for scrapping in 2003.

    The company is still awaiting permission from the Environment Agency to allow it to revamp its dockyard to carry out the work, amid concern about the impact of planned dredging works.

    However, it then emerged that Britain's own toxic ships - most of them Royal Navy vessels - were being ripped apart in the developing world by ill-trained workers risking their health.

    Source: icLiverpool

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    We'll sink plan for toxic ships
    Apr 4 2006
    By Ian Hernon, Liverpool Echo

    MPs today fired a broadside at any plans to dismantle toxic ships in the Mersey.

    Their promise came after a government study found that the area's former ship-building expertise made it viable as a site for a recycling centre for European "ghost ships" due to be scrapped.

    But Merseyside MPs say the dangers from handling dangerous chemicals and other toxic material would far outweigh any jobs benefits.

    Birkenhead ' s Frank Field branded the scheme "mad" and wants to meet environment secretary Margaret Beckett to ensure the idea never gains ground.

    The Labour MP said: "Toxic ships would drive everyone else away at a time when we have the best chance after 40 years of decline to transform the area."

    He pointed to the scheme by Peel Holdings, which bought the docks, to redevelop the area, adding: "Recycling toxic material would end those plans. It would be sheer madness."

    Bootle's Joe Benton said: "If a serious proposition is put forward involving toxic waste we shall fight it tooth and nail.

    "The disposal of toxic material from redundant tankers and other ships is a serious problem which must be addressed, but to do it so close to such high concentrations of population is not the answer." Riverside's Louise Ellman said: "I would be very concerned about the implications for public safety and for the Mersey environment.

    "I would need the most stringent assurances, and no decision should be taken without the fullest consultation. This is not an issue that can be decided in secret."

    The proposal is contained in a consultant's report to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which suggested sites "in and around" Birkenhead..

    The recycling industry could be worth up to 3bn and would involve 30 redundant warships and almost 400 EU-flagged tankers.

    A Whitehall official said that the proposal was only one of several possibilities, including front-runners Tyneside and Teeside in the north east.

    ianhernon@liverpoolecho.co.uk

    Source: icLiverpool

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    What we build we should dismantle not send to India, and this goes for the US sending their ghost ships to Hartlepoole FFS...

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    THE man responsible for ship building at the former Cammel Laird shipyard last night said he would consider recycling toxic "ghost ships" on the Mersey. more
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    Should River Mersey accept toxic ships?
    Apr 11 2006
    Deborah James asks should we accept toxic "ghost ships"?
    by Deborah James, Daily Post



    THE Mersey estuary has been identified as one of two "ideal" sites for the money-spinning industry of breaking up so-called toxic "ghost ships".

    A Defra report estimated a plan to build a state-of-the-art ship recycling facility could be worth 3.5bn to either Wirral or the North East.

    Ministers say it is no longer acceptable to rip apart Britain's defunct ships, mostly Royal Navy vessels containing lead and asbestos, in appalling conditions on beaches in India and Pakistan.

    Several MPs, including Birkenhead's Frank Field, have opposed the idea, raising concerns about the effects of poisons and pollutants released from the ships.

    More...

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