Safety fears prompt Ineos to renew road closure calls

Ineos has renewed calls to close off a public road running through its Grangemouth site
Ineos has renewed calls to close off a public road running through its Grangemouth site

After more fears are raised over safety and security petrochemical giant Ineos is pleading to have a public road closed off at its Grangemouth site.

The firm’s approach to security was called into question yet again when it was recently revealed it rejected the advice of UK security services and refused to pay for measures to protect the Grangemouth facililty from potential terrorist attacks.

Earlier this month Ineos staff had to be evacuated from the site and nearby schools placed in lockdown when a leak at the firm’s Kinneil Gas Plant sparked a major alert.

In light of these events and concerns the company stated it is even more important its plans, which were lodged with Falkirk Council at the start of the year, to close off a section of Bo’ness Road are given the go ahead by the local authority.

An Ineos spokesperson said: “Following a period of detailed planning, on Wednesday, January 18 we submitted our planning application to Falkirk Council for the construction of a new security management centre and gatehouse together with the closure of Bo’ness Road to public access.

“We firmly believe removing public access along a segment of road that bisects the site is in the interests of safety and security and enables Grangemouth as a single site to attract inward and third party investment, developing fully the potential of the site and benefitting Ineos, local businesses and the local area.”

While there is longstanding local opposition to the road closure plans – including official objections from Grangemouth and Bo’ness community councils and an online petition – there is now also growing concerns over the safety of the site.

Confidential government documents obtained by Greenpeace reveal how Ineos rejected security recommendations made by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), an agency accountable to MI5, reportedly arguing they were unaffordable and would not benefit the company.

According to one briefing document drafted by officials: “Ineos has explained it is not prepared to undertake any of these mitigations because it cannot afford to do so and, even if it could afford this expenditure, it does not see itself as the beneficiary of the enhancements proposed.”

According to the documents, Ineos was “the first and only example to date” of an owner of critical national infrastructure ever to have refused the advice of the CPNI.

John Sauven, Greenpeace UK executive director, said: “Such apparent disregard for national security from a major petrochemical company is deeply alarming. According to the documents, Ineos’s approach was unprecedented.

“Such behaviour suggests this company was not prioritising the health and security of our communities.”

Responding to the documents revealed by Greenpeace, Ineos stated: “We cannot go into detail on our security arrangements at our sites, some of which is confidential for obvious reasons.

“However, we can say the safety and security of each of our sites around the world is our highest priority. Our sites vary considerably in terms of their size, composition and location and so the security arrangements, that are reviewed on a regular basis, are specifically developed to take into account the specific risk and situation of each facility.

“We work closely with local and national authorities and emergency and security services in shaping and monitoring our security arrangements and procedures, which are tested regularly.

“The documents referred to date back to 2010. There have been significant changes at the Ineos Grangemouth site over the intervening years.”